By Anita Roberts,
UNELCO and Vate Electrics will be partnering with the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) to provide electricity on Tanna and Malekula.
UNELCO will be responsible for the component of electricity generation, while Vate Electrics will have the responsibility of distributing electricity.
VNPF’s General Manager (GM) Parmod Achary has revealed this, following the signing of the Tanna/Malekula Electricity Concession Agreement last month. As the new electricity concessionaire on Tanna and Malekula, VNPF will now take over the operation costs including fuel, labor and maintenance cost.
“The reason we are having power generated by UNELCO as a separate company is, we want to tap into renewable energy in the future,” he said.
He said they are looking at installing a solar power system on Tanna and hydroelectric on Malekula.
“Now that VNPF has taken over, it will ensure that future investments are directed towards renewable energy, rather than diesel generator which is more expensive,” he conveyed.
“With renewable energy, the cost of maintenance will be low compare to the current model. Following the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the price of diesel has increase.
“Vanuatu cannot afford the constant increase because we have a small economy base. Whatever we generate must give a good return for the members.
“For distribution, we want to allow Vate Electrics to ensure the meters used by residents are flexible, either postpaid or prepaid.
“VNPF will be signing an agreement with the two contractors.
“Once the agreement is done we will then get the costing for generating and distributing electricity.
“Based on the costing we will sign an agreement with the Utilities Regulatory Authority (URA) for the tariff on Malekula and Tanna.
“Currently, the existing facilities on the two islands, including facilities on Efate are being audited. We will know the costs and changes required once the audit is complete.”
Asked why VNPF is engaging UNELCO again, GM Achary said: “UNELCO Engie is one the best electricity entity operating in the Pacific region.
“Now that we (VNPF) will be increasing our shares in UNELCO to 70%, we will be changing the name of UNELCO. It has always been our dream to have the members of VNPF, who are citizens Vanuatu own electricity in their own country.”
Source: Daily Post Vanuatu
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