The electrification network extension in the village of Orap, Northeast of Malekula was jointly launched Monday this week by Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, with the Minister for Energy, Ham Lini, and the Managing Director of Unelco Engie Vanuatu, David Lefèvre.

The extension project of the electricity network in rural area was signed back in July 2015 between the Vanuatu Government, UNELCO Engie, the Provincial Council of Malampa and the respective customary chiefs of the northeast coast of Malekula.

The power grid extension works on the northeast coast of the island of Malekula was jointly funded by the government of Vanuatu, the European Union and UNELCO Engie with a total sum of Vt300 million.

According to the projection made by the utility company and the government of Vanuatu, more than 3,000 people will benefit from this project, as they will have access to electricity in their homes.

The project was carried out by the staff of UNELCO Engie with the contribution of the villagers from the communities of Wala, Orap, Lavalsal, Rano, Atchin and Vao particularly for the pruning of the trees.

In their respective speeches at the launching ceremony, the UNELCO Engie Managing Director and the two Vanuatu Government ministers thanked the customary landowners for facilitating and for making available plots of land for the installation of poles and the power line.

UNELCO Engie technical teams and local subcontractors in accordance with the safety standards regulations efficiently carried out the work on the ground. The electricity network project on Malekula covers a distance of 26.5km of medium voltage (MV) lines and 17km of low voltage cables which connects the area of Norsup located on the eastern coast of Malekula to Vao on the north east coast of the island; thus passing through the villages of Atchin, Orap, Lavalsal, Wala, Rano and ultimately Vao.

This is the first time that UNELCO Engie has achieved such an extensive electrical expansion in Vanuatu in a space of one year.

The arrival of electricity is definitely a lever for the development of economic activities and the improvement of the quality of life in rural areas (such as health care, food, education, etc.).

Prime Minister Salwai said that the development project is important for the development of infrastructure in rural areas. “Energy will open the door to more opportunities for people from the northeast coast of Malekula to stimulate business and education for their children,” Salwai said.

The ceremony was held in the village of Orap.

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, the Minister for Climate Change, Ham Lini, the Managing Director of UNELCO Engie, David Lefèvre and the President of Malampa Province jointly proceeded with the unveiling ceremony of the commemorative plaque and the official launch of the arrival of continuous electricity in the northeast coast of Malekula.

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