by Jean-Baptiste CALO
After having to wait for the last 5 to 6 years for this project to happen, the seven hundred and ten (710) households from the North-Eastern part of the island of Malekula in Vanuatu have today a reason to smile again since the practical works on the ground on the long awaited electricity network extension project on North East Malekula have resumed.
The Prime Minister, Sato Kilman Meltek Livtunvanu and a high government delegation flew to Malekula on Wednesday July 14th to do the official ground breaking ceremony of the project on Thursday July 15th 2015.
The project is known as the Energy Facility 1 project jointly funded by Vanuatu Government, European Union and Unelco Vanuatu with a length of 26 KM power extension grid linking Lakatoro to Vao.
The extension of the grid consist of 17 kilometer low voltage network to supply fours settlements which are Walarano, Orap, Lavalsal (Atchin mainland) and Vao mainland.
According to Unelco Vanuatu, once the new proposed grid extension is completed, they’re projecting to reach 710 new potential households who have been waiting to have access to electricity for the last 5 years.
Unelco management explains that this project is in fact the follow up of a project that was initially funded about 6 years ago by the European Union.
A project which for some reasons was put on hold until this year.
“The initial project consisted in installing isolated power for each village on the North East Coast of Malekula.
Meanwhile, the context of the project has evolved and the Vanuatu government and the EU have decided that it would be better if the funds allocated for this project were injected in the construction of the network on Malekula.
An international tender call has been issued by the Vanuatu government for the purchase of supplies and equipment for the network”, Unelco management stated.
Under the agreement, Unelco Vanuatu has the responsibility to carry out the works on the network in accordance with the specifications of the concession in Malekula.
“Unelco consulted several subcontractors for that, but at the end of the day, all the bidders turned out to be VT 20 million more expensive than Unelco Vanuatu. That is why Unelco is now going to realise all the work on the electricity extension network on North East Malekula and pay for all the missing material.
Some 700 households have been waiting for the last 6 years to have access to electricity in Rory, Pinalum, Walarano, Orap, Atchin mainland and Vao mainland”, Unelco Management emphasised.
Unelco has agreed to finance the cost of the missing material of up to exactly VT 15, 971 671 (almost VT16 Million vatu).
“Unelco doesn’t need anymore to demonstrate its competences in terms of construction or reconstruction of the electricity network. We have already proven ourselves after the cyclone PAM.
We want to clarify that these are not arrangements, but rather, the application of measures under the specifications of the concession. And Unelco is indeed in its right to finance all or a part of the 26 km power extension grid.
We are just doing our job as a utility company and it is moreover a big satisfaction for us to know that 700 families are soon going to be able to benefit from the extension of the electricity network in North East Malekula”, Unelco management said.
“This is a development project. And to bring about development we need to be pro-active in order to allow project such as this to happen. And that is what the government has done this year by committing itself to do together with Unelco Vanuatu and all the other stakeholders”, Unelco Management concluded.
MOU Signed With Malekula Chiefs to Ensure Completion of Extension of Electricity Grid by May 2016
The government of Vanuatu, Unelco Vanuatu, the Malampa Provincial council and the respectives chiefs of North East Area of Malekula have entered a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of North East Malekula Rural Electrification project within the UNELCO Concession boundary.
The purpose of this MOU is to ensure that each party commits itself in the realisation and achievement of that project known as the Energy Facility 1 project jointly funded by Vanuatu Government, European Union and Unelco Vanuatu with a length of 26 KM power extension grid linking Lakatoro to Vao.
The roles and responsibilities of of the 4 signing parties are clearly stated in that agreement.
As the main co-financer and national decision making body for this project, the Vanuatu Government will commits itself and ensures that this project is implemented according to the agreed time frame in accordance with the agreed allocated resources.
As a partner in the project Malampa Province will ensure that appropriate coordination of respective provincial based central government agencies inputs and support are delivered to assist Unelco and the Vanuatu Government in the implementation and achievement of this project.
The MOU stipulates that further to this, UNELCO will bear all the cost related to the subcontracting of the community work for the construction of the high voltage power grid extension and low voltage power grid extension to respective villages within its concession area.
And as partners and recipients of the project, chiefs and communities from the villages of Mae, Rory, Bethel, Pinalum, Amelveth, Walarano main land , Orap, Atchin and Vao mainland must commit themselves to this project by supporting and allowing the construction of the power extension grid alongside the road within their respective Land boundaries from Lakatoro to Vao.
They also have to ensure that related land issues or other unnecessary disturbances must be avoided during the implementation phase.
Those communities must also ensure that all quarry, sand and other natural resources sites within North East Malekula respective boundaries will be reserved for the good use by Unelco during the implementation phase of this project.
They also may provide manpower for the subcontracting of the community work for the construction of the power extension grid from Lakatoro to Vao.
They have also agreed in that MOU to provide community support to Unelco Vanuatu, Malampa Provincial Government and Vanuatu Government with all the assurances required for the smooth implementation of this project.
According to the MOU signed by the four parties, the project implementation phase for the construction and completion of the power extension grid of 26KM high Voltage including low voltage to Walarano main land, Orap, Atchin main land and Vao main land is scheduled for 40 weeks which is approximately 10 months with effect from July 2015 to May 2016.
Under this present MOU each party will provide all its support, contribution and effort to ensure that this project is implemented and completed according to the agreed timeframe.
This MOU commenced on July 15th day of July 2015 and will dissolve at the end of the completion of this project in 2016.
This Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Prime Minister, Sato Kilman Meltek Livtunvanu on behalf of the Vanuatu Government, the President of Malampa Provincial Government Council, William Fred Tasso, Mr David Lefèvre for Unelco Vanuatu and the 8 chiefs of the villages who are going to benefit from this project.
Govt & Unelco also Sign MOU with Torba & Penama for distinct Electricity projects
With the intention to kill two birds with one stone, the Prime Minister Sato Kilman has arranged for the Secretary General of the respective Provincial Government Councils of Torba and Penama to travel to Malekula last week for the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the project for the installation and construction of a EU Energy Facility 1 biofuel project in those two northern provinces of the country.
The MOU was signed in Malekula for this two projects that will be funded by the European Union.
The signing ceremony took place in Walarano, Malekula, right after the signing of the extension of the electricity network in North East Malekula.
The project in Torba and Penama will be carried out by Unelco Vanuatu.
The overall total cost of the two project is valued at more than VT 52 million (VT 52 922 356 to be exact).