Nuku’alofa, 14 August 2020. Amidst the global COVID19 pandemic border restrictions, the Tonga Electricity Commission (TEC) in joint collaboration with the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) were able to host a blend of national and regional training workshop on Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and Fuel/Renewable Energy Tariff model on 13th & 14th August 2020. The meeting provides participants the introduction to the topic of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) & PPAs and also elaborates on the Fuel/RE component of the Regulated Tariff model
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Chairman of the TEC, Rev. Alifeleti ‘Atiola speaks of the critical role of the Electricity Regulator to ensure that the price of electricity is fair, transparent and reasonable. “We need a tariff model that is fair to the power utility and also fair for the people and the Government. An ideal model that can bring us as close as possible to the best or the right tariff. We also need to ensure that the Tonga electricity supply meets the nation’s demand to drive the economy forward”, Chairman Atiola said. He further stressed that information sharing is important and Tonga is honoured to share its two days training programme with its colleagues from the region.
Mr Jesse Benjamin who spoke at the meeting on behalf of SPC PCREEE, expressed appreciation to the TEC staff and chairperson for their kindness to enable the training to be shared virtually with the participants throughout the region. “The pandemic has not only taught us to be kind to each other but also taught us to do business differently. We therefore look forward to facilitating more and closer collaboration among PICTs on sustainable energy.” He concluded to say “ I just want to conclude this brief statement by saying that the SPC is standing by you as you recover from recent natural disasters and fighting the pandemic in a safer, greener and more resilient manner.”
At the national level, about 20 participants from the key electricity stakeholders including the Department of Energy, the Tonga Power Limited, representatives from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Public Enterprise attended the important training. There were over 25 participants from the Pacific Island Countries comprising mainly of Directors of Energy Offices, CEO’s of Power Utilities and Electricity Regulators who are also joining virtually via zoom.
The training was delivered virtually by Dr Viren Ajodhia, an expert in electricity regulation who has over 20 years of professional experience and has worked over 40 countries. Dr Ajodhia has a PhD in Economics, Master Degree in Law and an Undergraduate Degree in Electrical Engineering. He is the ‘independent expert’ hired through the Technical Assistance between PCREEE and TEC for the current Tonga Electricity Concession Contract Reset. The training was conducted as part of his expert assistance to the TEC team.
At the end of the training, Acting CEO of TEC, Mr Kilisimasi Masi announced the soon to release publication of the new tariff reset decisions by the Tonga Electricity Commission. “These Tariff Reset documents containing the new proposed tariff price for the next tariff period will be posted on the TEC and TPL websites and the public are invited to review and provide feedback to the Regulator before the Regulator makes the final decision on it by September. The publication will be released in the coming weeks of August 2020”, he said.
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.