PACIFIC POWER ASSOCIATION
first evolved in 1989, when Chief Executive Officers and General
Managers of a number of the Pacific Island Country Power Utilities
together with governments, aid donors, private sector companies met to
discuss the difficulties experienced by the Power Utilities to improve
their overall performance. Also participating at these meetings were
other organisations with interest in the Pacific islands power industry
recognised that Pacific Island Power Utilities were a major contributor
to the economic development of their Pacific Islands, and that good
performing power utilities assist with poverty alleviation.
of the difficulties that these utilities experience in their efforts to
improve the utility performance were as follows:
Inappropriate and inferior equipment and technology “dumped” on a
utility by unscrupulous vendors, or vendors with no appreciation of the
harsh environment that the equipment needed to cope with. The utility in
most instances had no recourse to achieve suitable resolution of the
problems because the utility was not “seen” as a large market. This,
together with the geographic isolation, provided no incentive for the
vendor to assist the utility to rectify the problem.
The networking that should take place between power utilities,
where CEOs and engineers communicate and regularly meet with each other
to discuss, share and resolve common issues was unavailable. In addition
this inhibited the opportunities for these key people to meet and
participate as regional group of utility managers in workshops to
address and receive instruction on new technologies, industry
development, reforms that are presently being undergone by mainland
utilities and the successes and failures of their peers in their
attempts to improve their utilities performance
There were clear indications that aid was being miss-directed.
There to be no real understanding by the aid and donor countries of the
problems faced by utilities in the region that were limiting their
ability to improve, and the utilities contribution to the economic
development of their islands, and thus financial support was not made
A number of regional organisations were involved with energy, but
there was no clear hierarchy to allow consultation with a regional
representative of the power utilities on proposed developments, nor
input to be provided in the formulation of energy policy that affected
senior General Mangers met informally once a year during 1990 and 1991
to address these challenges, and finally resolved with the agreement of
their peers in the other Pacific Island Utilities to create what is now
known as the Pacific Power Association. The United Nations Pacific
Energy Development Programme supported this, which incidentally was
itself being closed down in 1991.
utility members were named Active Members.
Pacific Power Association Membership:
establishing the Association, a clear decision was made to include an
additional associate membership named Allied Membership and these were
private enterprise companies. This decision was based on the fact that
exclusion of these companies would be disadvantageous to the
Association, in that the PPA would not be able to bring pressure on
companies to improve their service to the utilities if found wanting. If
they were members of the PPA then it is clear that they show support for
the ideals of our Association. In addition, the utility membership
constitutes a major market and if companies perform well and provide
excellent service and support, then they are assured of continued
business. If they do not act responsibly, then the Association is in an
ideal position to ensure that their service and support is improved
otherwise their opportunities for further business is very limited.
It is to
be noted as indicated in the PPA structure further in this introduction
that the private enterprise members cannot influence the direction and
goals of the PPA.
PPA has been formed the Association has created a number of important
relationships with other bodies and institutions, which are of benefit
to the operation of the PPA. To acknowledge these organisations, the PPA
included them in a third membership named Affiliate Member. This
membership excludes any organisation that has a pecuniary interest in
seeking business in the Region
organisations provide valued information and free services that benefit
the utilities and the Association. The Electricity Supply Association of
Australia (ESAA) is an Affiliate member. As an example, the ESAA conduct
annually in Australia a residential school in power systems engineering.
For many years the ESAA provide only two free scholarships to approved
international participants. As a result of the Affiliate membership, one
of these two valuable scholarships is awarded permanently to the PPA for
development of utility engineers.
In addition, the PPA has reciprocal membership with the American Public
Power Association, where the PPA receives pertinent information and data
which is of benefit to the Northern Utilities.
Pacific Power Association Vision and Mission Statement:
“Pacific Power Association will be the focal point for the management
and advocacy of issues, together with cooperative action to assist power
utilities in the Pacific Islands Region to protect and promote their
Statement: “To improve the quality,
minimise the cost and expand the use of electricity in the Pacific
context the PPA will:
Be the Regional voice for the Pacific
island Country (PIC) utilities
Provide a forum for PIC utilities to
address their needs.
Influence development of policies and
programmes that affect member’s interests.
Provide strategic information and
institutional strengthening to assist members.
Enhance understanding of the energy
supply business in the Region.
Pacific Power Association Structure:
Pacific Power Association is registered with the Government of the Fiji
Islands as a non-profit company. The operations of the PPA are directed
by the Pacific Power Association’s Memorandum and Articles of
Association, which is also registered with the Fiji Government.
Association consists of the following members:
Comprise the Pacific Island Country Power Utilities. (Refer Appendix 1
for member list)
Comprise the private enterprise companies that provide equipment and
services to the power utilities. (Refer Appendix 2 for member list)
Comprise those institutions and associations that share information and
have no pecuniary interest in doing business with the utilities. (Refer
to Appendix 3 for member list)
Pacific Power Association Board:
consists of twenty seven (27) Directors and is made up as follows:
Twenty-five directors who are the
General Managers of the twenty-five power utilities in the Region.
The Executive Director of the Pacific
One representative elected from the
Active Member Directors there is elected a Chairman, Secretary and
Treasurer of the PPA for a three-year term.
meets annually, and at times outside the Annual meeting, there is a need
to seek Board decisions. Because of the difficulties with geographic
isolation, it is not possible to organise all the Board Members to meet.
As a consequence there is an Executive Committee, which consists of five
(5) Directors namely the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer Executive
Director and the Allied Members representative. The Executive Committee
has the authority outside Board meetings to make Board decisions. The
Board at its Annual Meeting will later ratify these decisions.
Pacific Power Association Secretariat:
day-to-day affairs of the Association is managed through a Secretariat,
based in Suva and headed by the Executive Director with a total staff of
five (5). The remaining four (4) staff comprises the Deputy Director,
Executive Assistant, Accounts Officer and Administrative Assistant. With
the exception of the Executive Director, the staff are Fijian Citizens.
Pacific Power Association Services:
principal activities and services to its members are:
Regional Training Programme.
The Association administers a programme of technical and non-technical
training activities for the power utilities in cooperation with its
members, associate training institutions. Co-sponsoring funding
institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, European Union, United
States Department of the Interior, Government of France, United Nations
Development Programme, and Forum Secretariat have participated in
various degrees in the past and at present.
Performance Benchmarking of
With funding from the Asian Development Bank, the process of
benchmarking of the utilities commenced in the year 2000 and is now an
ongoing process. This is critical to improving the performance of the
utilities and contributes to increased networking between the utilities.
Energy Efficiency (Supply Side Management).
An important focus for the utilities is the need to reduce energy losses
in the operations of the utilities in production, transmission and
distribution. Improvement in power utility energy efficiency, will
reduce fuel consumption, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions and
utility operating costs. This ongoing project received funding from the
Government of France.
Phase 2 of this project for the Northern utilities
has received approval from the U.S. DOI, OIA to carry out this project
for 1 year.
The EU was presented with the project to fund the
utilities South of the Pacific. There have been formal indications from
the EU Suva office that this project will be approved. The delay in the
project approval is that the EU Brussels office will have to receive
from the other two regions in the African Caribbean Pacific Member
Countries, i.e., Africa and the Caribbean, project proposals before the
approval is formally granted for our project.
E7 Renewable Energy
Island Country Power Utilities to acquire technical capacity to design,
procure, construct, operate and maintain renewable energy systems in
their countries. To hold one two (2) weeks workshop for the utilities
located in the Northern Pacific region and American Samoa Power
Authority (ASPA). The Northern Utilities workshop will be held in March
2005 in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and hosted by the
Marshalls Energy Company. The workshop for the South of the Pacific
region will be held in June 2005. A donor country has been approached
to fund this project.
Renewable Energy Advisor.
renewable energy advisor, utilities will have improved understanding and
technical competence in the renewable energy field, with an appreciation
of the advantages and problems of integrating a renewable energy
component in to their services and the supply of these services to
remote and to poor areas. Action and investment plans for renewable
energy in the PIC utility context will have been developed. To
further improve the
performance of the Pacific Island Countries Power Utilities to be able
to develop and maintain sustainable renewable energy projects in their
Managerial, Technical and Financial Cooperation
Programmes for Sharing Utility Expertise.
The Association identifies qualified personnel in member utilities to
contribute expertise in specialised areas in which other member
utilities request assistance, and supports the travel and subsistence
expenses of such personnel visiting member utilities on short-term
secondment. As circumstances warrant, the Association arranges for PPA
professional staff and/or outside consultants to assist with
A Regional Power Sector Database.
The Association is developing a database of power sector information
including operating and financial statistics of member utilities, lists
of utility assets and personnel, spares and fuels inventories and
values, and will eventually include rosters of consultants, equipment
suppliers, and similar information. The database is designed to be
flexible to members’ changing requirements. A considerable undertaking,
the database is expected to be available by 2007.
A Quarterly Magazine.
The Association publishes Pacific Power, a professional quality
quarterly magazine featuring technical articles, technology reviews, and
utility “profiles” in addition to Association and regional power sector
news articles and utility notices. The magazine is also utilised by
members of the CROP EWG for dissemination of all aspects of energy to
The magazine is circulated to members and also to
non-member government organisations, private companies, regional and
international bodies and institutions.
One of the challenges that the PPA does address is
the inability at times of smaller utilities and in one particular
example with the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority, because of
economic hardship, outside their control is not able to meet their
yearly subscriptions. The Board continues to provide the services to all
power utilities, based on an acceptance by the PPA that it is the
responsibility to assist utilities when they are undergoing hardship.
While recognising this responsibility it can result in the lack of
funding to address lower priority programmes and services.
PPA Annual Directory.
The Association publishes annually, for its members, a directory, which
contains the contact details of all members including detailed
information on Allied members’ equipment and services and utility
Interaction With Regional and International
The PPA is a core member of the Energy Working Group of the Council of
Regional Organisations of the Pacific, in all areas of regional energy.
The PPA has been instrumental in providing a major contribution to the
creation of the Regional Energy Policy in the areas of power and
Representatives of the Forum Secretariat attend and
make presentations on energy issues including petroleum at the Annual
South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC).
The PPA has provided information on utility data, including tariffs for
their energy database, and facilitated working groups of Pacific Island
Energy Planners at their Regional Energy Meetings in the creation of an
energy business plan. The SOPAC representative attends the Annual
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
The PPA was part of the yearly review of the progress of the SPC PREFACE
project, at the invitation of SPC, and both the French and Australian
Governments. The PREFACE project was funded equally between the French
and Australian Governments for AUD3 Million to produce four different
renewable energy demonstrations projects in the Pacific Islands.
Representatives of the SPC and PPA attend each other’s Annual
University of the South Pacific.
Provision of lecture on power and energy to final year Physics students
and participation in the CROP EWG.
United States Department of
the Interior (USDOI), Office of Insular Affairs.
The USDOI provides funding for the Northern Utilities in major human
resource development projects; energy efficiency (Supply Side
Management); utility Board Members’ training; travel and per diems for
Northern Utility engineers to attend the bi-annual PPA Engineering
Workshop; and provision of key presenters at the PPA’s Annual
Conference. In addition a representative from the USDOI, Office of
Insular Affairs in Washington attends the PPA’s Annual Conference and
advises the Association on the United States Government’s aid strategy
in the Region with a focus on Energy.
Government of France.
Funding support has been received from the French Government through
their Pacific Development Fund to support the major human resource
development project carried out by the PPA. In addition the French
Government provided an engineer from the Engineering University in
Grenoble in France to assist the PPA in a study of the energy efficiency
in six (6) Pacific Island Power Utilities. The outcomes of this study
and a proposal for a major project in improving power utility energy
efficiency has been requested by the UN, EU, French Government and the
USDOI for funding support.
The Government of France through the French Embassy
in Fiji approached the PPA to project manage a survey of sustainable
energy sites in the Federated States of Micronesia and Nauru. The
results of this survey formed part of the EU’s focus on sustainable
energy in these countries under a Cooperative Agreement with the
countries. A representative from the Embassy of France in Fiji attends
the PPA’s Annual Conference and advises the Association on the French
Government’s aid strategy in the Region with a focus on Energy.
Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Sought and gained approval from the ADB for PPA to project manage a
major performance Benchmarking project involving all the power utilities
in the Region. In addition the ADB is funding the PPA’s micro-economic
project of the utilities. The ADB representative attends the PPA’s
Annual Conference and advises the Association on its aid strategy in the
Region with a focus on Energy.
European Union (EU).
In conjunction with the United Nations, invited to make a presentation
on “Sustainable Energy as it Applies to the Pacific Island Power
Utilities” at a major international seminar on sustainable energy held
in the Dominican Republic. The EU will shortly announce funding approval
for the PPA’s major capacity build project, energy efficiency project
for the Southern Utilities in addition to the provision of a renewable
energy advisor which be available to all ACP member Country utilities.
The EU representative attends the PPA’s Annual
Conference and advises the Association on its aid strategy in the Region
with a focus on Energy.
Energy Supply Association
of Australia (ESAA).
The ESAA is an affiliate member of the PPA. The ESAA provides the PPA
one free Scholarship for a utility engineer to attend the Annual
Residential School in Power Systems Engineering. In addition the ESAA
relevant information on utility practices that will benefit the Region’s
American Public Power Association (APPA).
Reciprocal membership of each other’s Associations. The Chairman of the
APPA (The APPA has 2,000 public utilities as members in the USA)
attended our 10th Annual Conference and provided the keynote
address. In addition they have provided the services of a small utility
in Tennessee to train the Northern Utilities in country, in USA
standards, on Budget Planning and implementation of an Occupational
Health and Safety Policy
Association of Caribbean Island Utilities (CARILEC).
Reciprocal membership of each other’s Associations. In addition
representatives of the Associations attend each other’s Annual
Conferences. This interaction has provided benefits in the exchange of
information pertaining to tariffs, progress with corporatisation,
commercialisation and privatisation, training and equipment performance.
In particular to be able to jointly address common issues, for example,
waste oil disposal in both the Pacific islands and the Caribbean Islands
as an international issue to be resolved, and contingency plans that our
Associations deal with associated typhoon and hurricane occurrences.
The Association conducts an annual conference with the cooperation each
year of an Active member host. The Conference incorporates a formal
Board Meeting and an Annual General Meeting. The Association uses the
conference as a catalyst for networking among utility members. In
addition there are presentations on a number of issues. One key session
addresses the need to create an awareness of reforms that are occurring
in mainland power utilities that member utilities will have to address
in their own Pacific islands. Other examples of sessions that have been
discussed and are wide in their scope include:
The formulation of Electricity Pricing.
Effect of Petroleum Prices on Tariff Determination
Economic Regulation and Pacific Island Power Utilities
GIS – The Necessary Tool for Asset Management.
Renewable Energy options for provision of access to electricity
in outer Islands and rural areas.
Improve power utility energy efficiencies through supply side
Long and Short Term Changes in the Environment and its Impact on
the Utility industry.
Strategies for Improving the Economic Performance of Development
Customer Service as the Key to Utility Business Success
Concurrent with the Annual Conference is a Trade
Exhibition of private sector products and services, which provide an
opportunity for formal and informal face-to-face discussions between
utility managers and suppliers.
I believe that the forgoing provides the Vision and
Mission statement and structure of the Pacific Power Association, and
that the programmes and interactions carried out in the past eleven (14)
years, and planned for the future, by the PPA conform to this vision and
mission. There is a clear and unique role performed by the PPA as the
major contributor to sustainable energy development in the Region. There
are existing and additional PPA programmes continuing in the Region to
further develop and improve energy supply and power utility performance.
Anthony E. Neil
Executive Director, Pacific Power Association
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