Over 56,000 people in Rigo, particularly Hula communities in Central Province, now have power thanks to the rural electrification grid initiative. According to Rigo MP Lekwe Gure, the project cost K20 million ($9 million NZ dollars) and has now been completed thanks to PNG Power Limited (PPL) and the New Zealand Government.

Mr Gure said that the project has now been finished, and the K20 million has allowed 23% of the district’s population to access electricity. According to PNG Power Limited, the project involves a line extension and a residential connection to the main grid.

He said, “I understand from PPL that currently we only have 60 per cent of the country that have access to electricity. What that means is we have to roll out rural electrification program by seven per cent per annum in the next eight years in order to reach the final seven per cent by the year 2030.

“With the completion of this Hula electrification project, Rigo Coast LLG is now complete except for Golobu and three villages of Keapara, Anukuni and Karawa. The project comes in three phases which are now completed.”

Philip Taula, the New Zealand High Commissioner, said the commissioning of the project was a significant step forward for local people, Papua Guinea, and New Zealand. He added that New Zealand was keen to collaborate with PNG and other Pacific countries to enhance stability, prosperity, transparency, and resilience in the region.

He said, “The Key focus for New Zealand is to work with the Government of PNG and other partnering nations like Australia, United States of America, and Japan in realigning to achieve the goal of delivering electrification to all Papua New Guineans by the year 2030.”

Photo caption: the New Zealand High Commissioner, Phillip Taula, and PNG Power Management accompanied by the Member for Rigo, Hon. Lekwa Gure and representatives from the PNG Electrification Partnership, visited Hula to commission the recently completed Hula section of the New Zealand-funded Rural On-Grid Extension Project in Central Province. Image credit PNG Power Ltd