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The importance of rural electrification has once again gained prominence in Government’s frequent review of the Rural Electrification Policy especially with specific consideration given to further reducing the rural communities’ contribution from 10% of the total cost of the project to only 5% since 26th of August 2008.  

It is the Government’s intention to provide the supply of electricity to the nation.

The responsibility was bestowed upon the Fiji Electricity Authority when it was formed in 1966. However due to limitations such as availability of funds, and constraints like the geographical locations of the outer islands and the remoteness of some villages in the two main islands (Viti Levu and Vanua Levu), the provision of this essential commodity is done under two separate modes. One is by the extension of the FEA power lines to villages within the reach of the Authority’s grid. The other is either by stand alone diesel generators; extensions Government Stations’ power supply; or renewable energy systems like Solar and / or micro hydro projects.

The provision of electricity to rural areas is undertaken by the Rural Electrification Unit within the Department of Energy (DOE). The Rural Electrification Unit’s activities are guided by the Rural Electrification Policy which was revised and came enforced in 1993.

From 1974 to 1994, the Department of Energy was made custodian of the Rural Electrification Policy then, but both the technical and practical activities of projects were done by the Public Works Department. The situation continued until the end of 2004. At the beginning of 2005 the Department of Energy took over full responsibility of the rural electrification program.

In the original Rural Electrification Policy, the customers pay one third (1/3) of the total cost of the project and Government funded the remaining two thirds (2/3s). In the revised policy which was enforced in 1994, the customers pay 10% of the total cost of the project and Government contributed the remaining 90%. The Rural Electrification Policy was again revised in end of August 2008 with the customers’ contributions reduced to 5% and Government contributing the remaining 95%.

During the implementation of the rural electrification program over the years, it was seen that the majority of the villages and communities in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and Ovalau prefer / want the 24/7 power supply system of FEA and would apply for the same regardless of the facts that they have got stand alone diesel generators; and that they are comparatively very far (more than a kilometer, some 5 kilometers, others more than 5 kilometers) from the Authority’s grid.

In order to maintain fairness, consistency, and also ensure that the rural electrification funds are put to optimum utilization, a ceiling or maximum allocation of $4000 per customer is being used as a guideline for those aspiring to be supplied with electricity from the FEA power lines. In using the maximum allocation of $4000 / customer, schemes were able to be categorised as (1) those that are viable and those that are regarded as non-viable.

Schemes in which the total costs are below the maximum allocation of $4000 / customer are considered viable and the customers were asked to pay 5% of the total costs. The Government funded the remaining 95%. Schemes in which the total costs were over and above the maximum allocation of $4000 per customer; the communities are required to pay the difference whilst the Government would provide the maximum assistance of $4000 per customer.

Hydro Long Term Monitoring Works

The Department had already undertaken the repair works at the Masi Village Micro-Hydro Project in Serua and at Korolevu Village in Navosa.  These two sites are affected by flood that had been affected the area recently. The Department in its intention to ensure that these two sites are back in operation had allocated all the available resources for its repair works.

In addition, a new monitoring station will be installed in Naruwai Village in Bua. Other potential sites have also been earmarked for long term monitoring by the Department.

Prefeasibility Studies and Detail Designing Stage

Navakasali Village in Bua and Nukuloa Village in Gau, Lomaviti had completed the long term monitoring stage and the data have already been collated and analysed. The prefeasibility studies of both sites would be undertaken by the Department and the information collated would assist us on the detail designing stage.

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