Nuku’alofa, 11th June 2020. Ensuring that electricity regulators effectively carry out their responsibilities according to Law would be beneficial to the power utilities, the investors and the consumers alike. It would also be beneficial to the entire economy because everyone’s life, whether it be food, medicine and water supply, is assisted by electricity. This is the basis for a current technical assistance by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) to strengthen the capacity of the Tonga Electricity Commission in promoting private sector investments in Tonga’s Power Sector.
Fifteen senior officers from both the TEC as well as the PCREEE participated on a two (2) days refresher training on electricity regulation and power tariff reviews, 10th and 11th June at the Tanoa International Hotel in Tongatapu.
The objective of the training was to strengthen the capacity of the TEC on power tariff calculation and strengthen the capacity of TEC to conduct future resets and tariff reviews.
At the workshop opening, Mr Soane Vahe, Deputy Chairman of TEC expressed his appreciation of the training and said: “This training is very timely for the TEC staff now that we are going through the Reset Process. The training is practical in a way that we use real data to compute the expected non-fuel tariff for Tonga. The role of TEC is important to ensure that the tariff is fair to the customers as well as to the power utility too”.
Mr Solomone Fifita, Manager PCREEE highlighted that the PCREEE was glad to support the training as part of its overall technical assistance to TEC on the current Tariff Reset process for Tonga. “The current Tariff Reset is an extremely important exercise for Tonga since it will help support the current economic recovery effort and create avenues for more private sector participation in the electricity market”, said Mr Fifita.
The Chairman of TEC, Rev. ‘Alifeleti ‘Atiola who was present on Day 2 of the training and delivered his closing remark at the end of the training re-emphasised the importance of the training to the TEC Staff and thanked SPC PCREEE for the generous support. “This training workshop for the past two days on tariff setting has enlighten us in all aspects of electricity regulation and it is an important element to TEC’s capacity to conduct future tariff reset process”, Rev. ‘Atiola added.
Given the covid 19 travel restrictions, the training was conducted remotely via skype, by Dr Viren Ajodha of the Energy and Economic Consulting, based at Suriname in South America.
Day 1 of the training covered Fundamentals of Price Regulation and Day 2 focused on Price Regulation in the Context of the Electricity Concession Contract in Tonga. The training was very interactive, allowing the participants and the trainer to discuss issues of relevance to the ECC.
About TEC and the PCREEE
The Electricity Commission was established through the Electricity Act of 2007 with functions which include the licensing of electricians and establishing standards for electrical safety. The Commission is also tasked to enforce actions under this Act or any regulations made under the Act.
The PCREEE is a regional vehicle to accelerate the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies in the Pacific Islands and is co-hosted by the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Tonga Government at Nuku’alofa, Tonga. It is a collaboration between SPC, UNIDO, SIDS Dock, the Government of Tonga and the Government of Austria and Norway.