Partnership for cheaper power

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THE National Government and the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) are committed in progressing more affordable electricity and continuing the development of the country’s energy infrastructure.

A statement from the Ministry of Mines, Energy & Rural Electrification (MMERE) said the Ministry will soon gazette the Electricity Tariff Regulations 2021 that will see reductions in the non-fuel tariff of electricity, which is expected to be further reduced when the Tina Hydro Project is commissioned.

The statement said this tariff reduction is part of the DCGA policy to lessen the expenditure burden for our consumers amidst this pandemic and so that they could save or spend more to drive consumption activities, and help our economy to grow.

“The Ministry expects the average power bills to fall by an average 18%. Depending on your consumption level, households are likely to see a fall of 22%. Commercial customers, a reduction of 27% and industrial customers, a fall of around 5%,” he said.

The statement said while the tariffs are decreasing, the SIEA through MMERE is actively developing the rural areas with its mission of emerging Solomon Islands.

“It is improving existing outstations, while at the same time opening and planning new mini power stations in almost all provinces. This is why one of the key aims of the MMERE and the SIEA this year is to commission the various solar hybrid projects that are completed or near complete last year but due to Covid-19, the contractors had to leave the country.”

The hybrid sites include Tulagi, Kirakira, Malu’u, Munda and Lata.

“We are discussing with the funder ADB how we can progress the commissioning of these important infrastructures later this year,” the statement said.

The statement said while Covid-related delays continue to hamper some of the work, other key projects that MMERE and SIEA are striving to progress this year includes;

  1. The New Zealand funded Hybrid generation systems that are in the design and contract stage for Hauhui on Malaita, Namugha on Makira, Sasamunga on Choiseul and Vonunu in the Western Province.
  2. World Bank funded Solar-Hybrids that are also in the early design stages for Dala and Bina in Malaita, Baolo in Isabel, Tingoa in Rennel, and Visale on Guadalcanal.

The statement said the Ministry together with SIEA are progressing major plans over the next couple of years to bring power to the nation, and electricity to our rural areas.

The statement adds the DCGA Government through the MMERE and SIEA have an ambitious plan to energize every province in Solomon Islands with a capital budget of around $900 million between 2021 and 2026 funded internally from reinvested earnings, as well as supported by our development partners.