TC Harold hit Tonga on 9th April with estimated damages of about USD 111 million, coming largely from the tourism sector. As of now, Tonga remains free of the COVID 19 and is continuing to finalise its preparations including familiarising with the use of life saving equipments.
A reliable, safe, clean and affordable supply of energy is critical to the recovery of the tourism sector as well as the fight against COVID 19. This is the key motivation for more than 30 registered electrical contractors coming together at Nuku’alofa this week to refresh their knowledge and learn new skills on electrical safety and compliance.
Rapid growth in the energy sector of Tonga has been matched with an increasing number of causalities due to non-observance of the safety standards and guidelines outlined in the By-Laws. There were 3 deaths in 2017, one death in 2018 and the most recent fatal case happened on Saturday 14th March 2020 at Mataika, Tongatapu.
“The rebuilding of the damaged tourism premises will involve new power connections and wirings and you as registered electrical contractors are tasked with providing a service that is in compliance with the law and is absolutely safe for the investors as well as the quests. Furthermore, the health services in the kingdom is relying on you as registered electrical contractors to ensure their life saving equipments are functioning wherever and whenever they are needed.” These are the sentiments expressed by Soane Vahe – Commissioner of the Tonga Electricity Commission, when addressing the participants today.
“The Pacific Community and its Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency is pleased to jointly conduct this workshop with TEC. As a regional technical agency, we are pleased to be able to immediately respond to the needs of our members to quickly recover and to improve their preparedness to save the lives of its people”, said Jesse Benjamin of the PCREEE.
The workshop was conducted by Asita Langi, Technical Manager of the TEC, and was broken up into smaller groups over two days to accommodate Tonga’s COVID 19 social distancing requirement.
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.