5 Nov 2012

ADB scheme will extend electricity availability to rural PNG

4:09 pm on 5 November 2012

New Zealand, Japan and Papua New Guinea, together with the Asian Development Bank, are to expand a community-based project delivering electricity to remote rural communities in PNG for the first time.

An ADB official, Anthony Maxwell, says helping communities link to power grids and to use electricity for income generating activities is critically important for stimulating growth and cutting poverty in rural areas.

The project will trial the use of labour from local communities to install power lines, and provide training to households on the cost effective use of power to support new livelihood opportunities.

New Zealand and Japan are providing two and a half a million US dollars each while PNG gives one million.

Just ten percent of PNG's population has access to electricity, with relatively fewer connections in rural areas.

New generating facilities are being rolled out but the cost of linking rural communities remains prohibitively high, in part due to the expense of bringing in external contractors.

This project aims to tackle the cost barrier by using local work teams to install the distribution lines to the remote communities.