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New Zealand supports the development of the energy sector in Tonga.

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29 November 2013 : The ground breaking ceremony for the combined stages two and three of the Tonga Village Network Upgrade Project was held at Kanokupolu Village on Wednesday, 27th November 2013. The Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu’ivakano and New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga, HE Mr. Mark Talbot, were guests of honour at the ceremony.

In March 2011, an agreement between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of Tonga was signed to commence this programme.

Stage one of the Tonga Village Upgrade Project was completed in August 2013, upgrading low voltage networks and service connections to 17 villages. Over 2,400 customers of Tongatapu have benefited, a number of these new connections are with homes and businesses that were not previously connected to the grid, getting a service from Tonga Power for the first time. The upgrading of the low voltage lines of stage one started with Puke village in January 2012.

The Minister for Public Enterprises Hon Fe’aomoeata Vakata asked the New Zealand High Commissioner, HE Mr Mark Talbot to extend to the Government of New Zealand the gratitude of the Tongan Government for their generosity and to pass on their appreciation also to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the honourable Mr McCully”.

He added, “The commitment to stage one, and provision of over TOP7.9 million in grant funding for this stage of the project recognises that the project is delivering on promises, and affirms the commitment of the Government of New Zealand to stand alongside and support the people of Tonga”.

The second and third stages of this programme will upgrade and renew the low voltage and high voltage networks of a further 33 villages and will see over 7,000 families and businesses benefit from this project. Over the next five years the project will inject over TOP38 million into the electricity infrastructure. From left to right: 'Inoke Vala (CEO, TERM), Lesieli Tufui Faletau (Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Finance), Rev Dr 'Ahio (President, FWC of Tonga), HE Mr Mark Talbot (New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga), Lord Tu'ivakano (Prime Minister of Tonga), Hon. Fe'aomoeata Vakata (Minister for Public Enterprises), Carl Sanft (Chairman, Tonga Power Limited’s Board of Directors).

The project will see the replacement of around 8,400 poles, upgrades to 7,640 customer connections, the employment and training of 15 new staff and reduced losses, saving 211,000 litres of diesel per annum.

The benefits of the project include:

- Reducing Tonga’s reliance on diesel for power generation. The savings on diesel for Tonga Power Limited will save more than TOP1.5 million every year.
- Improve the safety of the network, reducing the risk of injury and death.
- Increased network efficiency and reliability.
- Improve resilience of the network to withstand extreme weather conditions such as cyclones.
- New connections, with homes and businesses not previously connected to the grid.
- Reduce line faults.
- The inclusion of pre-payment metering to help families struggling with their monthly power bills.
- Recruitment of Tonga Power linesmen by New Zealand’s Northpower Limited.
- Recruitment and training of new linesmen and lineswomen.
- Purchase of locally grown and treated power poles for use in the project. Meaning, key inputs to the project is domestically sourced.

The New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Mark Talbot in his remark said, “The Village Network Upgrade Project is New Zealand’s single biggest investment in an energy project anywhere in the Pacific. The Tonga Village Project shows the seriousness of New Zealand’s commitment to energy development in the region”.

The schedule of works for stages two and three starts January 2014 and is expected to be completed in August, 2018.

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Issued by the : Tonga Power Limited, P: (+676) 21400, E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , W:www.tongapower.to

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 December 2013 10:33 )  

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