The Utilities Regulatory Authority (URA) as the economic and technical regulator of electricity and water services in Vanuatu has recently published its fourth ‘Electricity Fact Sheet 2020’ (EFS) report.
The report provides statistical information about the electricity service and market in Vanuatu, particularly in the main electricity concession areas of Port Vila, Luganville, Port Olry, Malekula (Lakatoro) and Tanna (Lenakel) where the two main electricity suppliers, UNELCO and Vanuatu Utilities Infrastructure (VUI) Limited are operating.
UNELCO’s concession contracts in Tanna and Malekula recently expired in July 2020 and the Government through the Department of Energy is currently manning the operation and management of the two concessions while VUI and the Government recently entered into a Concession Contract in June 2019 for the concessions of Luganville, Port Olry and smaller concession areas outside of Luganville.
The EFS report is provided as part of the URA functions among others under section 12(1) (c) of the URA Act to inform the public about matters in relation to utilities. The first EFS report was issued in October 2017, the second in December 2018, the third in October 2019 with the fourth issued this month.
The EFS reports are issued on annual basis providing electricity statistics for the past 6 years to show the trends, changes and developments in respect to the electricity service and market in Vanuatu. The electricity statistics presented in the EFS reports on the evolution in the past 6 years, the available electricity generation sources and their respective capacities, total electricity generated and by which generation source, the quantity of diesel and copra oil used in litres, the renewable generation source penetration in the overall energy mix, energy sold and used, electricity prices, peak demand, electricity customer/user number and other useful data. As indicated above, the EFS captures the gradual changes in the electricity service and market over a six (6) years period, with the previous year data updated annually. Thus, this fourth issue captures the electricity statistics from 2014 to 2019.
A copy of the fourth Electricity Fact Sheet Report can be obtained from the URA’s website via the link: http://www.ura.gov.vu/index.php/services/commission-publications
There are other smaller electricity systems currently emerging throughout the Vanuatu islands, most of which are funded through Vanuatu’s development partners and the Vanuatu Government. These smaller electricity systems are comprised of hybrid systems (Solar and battery with standby thermal generation source), mini-hydro systems and thermal systems providing electricity to the rural population of Vanuatu, that are not served by national grids operated by the major electricity utilities and are geographically isolated. The URA is working closely with the Department of Energy, the Utilities and potential operator(s) of these smaller electricity systems to have future EFS report further reflect data for these new systems and the areas they served once commissioned and the required data becomes available.
Similar reporting will also be made available for water utilities in Vanuatu reporting on the changes and developments in the water sector. Water utilities in Vanuatu comprised of water concessionaire(s), Government provider and other smaller water service providers. However, a major hurdle to completing such reports is the lack of the required technical information and data from the water providers. The URA is working towards addressing this hurdle to mandate report requirement from all water providers in Vanuatu.
The URA believes that the information offered in the EFS report is of some value to interested readers and welcomes suggestions to enhance the details and facts about the electricity service and market in Vanuatu communicated through the EFS report to improve future reporting.