NZ$1.4 million in aid money to rebuild Ha’apai’s power distribution network

 23 January 2014

 

Tonga Power linesmen rebuilding the HV line in Pangai. January 23rd, 2014. Ha’apai

The New Zealand Government has extended $1.4 million NZD grant aid to Tonga for the reconstruction of the power distribution network in Ha’apai. This comes after Government request assistance from the New Zealand Government.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said “Reliable access to electricity helps communities recover quickly after a disaster as it supports the operation of critical infrastructure such as schools, medical centres and businesses. New Zealand is committed to supporting the Tongan Government as the relief and reconstruction efforts continue”.

Since the storm struck Ha’apai, Tonga Power’s linesmen have been putting in long days and sleepless nights to rebuild the electrical infrastructure and restore power supply in Pangai. Crews and trucks from Tongatapu were sent to Ha’apai to help rebuild the power lines and poles which were damaged during the cyclone.

Equipment and materials will also be provided to help rebuild the electricity network in Ha’apai and six line staff from Northpower will be sent to Tonga to assist with the power reconstruction work.  The Government of New Zealand are also generously funding this additional cost.  It will enable Tonga Power to cut around one month of the restoration time at Ha’apai.

Tonga Power has taken extra steps to continue restoring power supply to the homes that were not affected by the storm. Restoring power supply to the people of Ha’apai isn’t easy work as crews have to fix power lines and repair electrical infrastructure taken down by cyclone Ian. But it also means that house wiring has to be safe before the house can be connected back to the grid.

Tonga Power’s CEO, John van Brink said “The extent of the damage at Ha’apai left us in a dilemma.  The ideal response is to rebuild the network into a stronger state and able to better resists storms.  But that takes time and money.  The generous support of the New Zealand Government and of Northpower, added to the dedication of Tonga Power staff means that we can make some improvements without compromising the time to fix things up".

The crew are making significant progress to rebuild the high voltage lines, and have already progressed across the causeway towards Foa. As of today, electricity has been restored to more than 140 homes and businesses.




 Picture taken after the linesmen rebuilt the HV and LV lines in Pangai. January 23rd, 2014. Ha’apai. 

 
ENDS
 
For more information please contact:
Jane Guttenbeil
Tonga Power Limited
Phone: 21400
Email: jguttenbeil@tongapower.to
Website: www.tongapower.to
 
 

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