Tonga, Samoa Move Towards Energy Labeling Laws

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

Secretariat of the Pacific Community Suva, Fiji

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) are moving towards implementing energy labeling and standards, and developing the appropriate legislation is an important aspect in this transformation.

In a recent workshop in Tonga, organized by Tonga’s Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources and facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Pacific Appliance Labelling and Standards program, legal experts and key stakeholders from Tonga and Samoa deliberated on issues that need to be reflected in the energy labeling and standards legislation for their respective countries.

In addressing the 34 participants at the workshop, Asipeli Palaki, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources in Tonga, emphasized that petroleum fuels make up about 20% of the national imports for Tonga – a significant amount. He noted that electrical appliances were found to be the major users of electricity in residential and commercial sectors, and that they held the most potential for reducing the use of energy through improved efficiency.

‘Establishing standards and labeling through legislation is one of the most cost effective approaches to reducing electricity demand. A series of similar consultation workshops will be carried out to ensure that an effective regulatory framework is in place for Tonga,’ he said.

Legal experts have recently started their consultancy to draft the legislation for Tonga and Samoa, and hence the timing of the workshop was key. It allowed the experts to gain better insight into the background and technical requirements of the appliance labeling and standards program.

‘This workshop is indeed timely and it provided useful information that will assist me in drafting the legislation,’ said Sarona Ponifasio, Samoa’s legal expert.

Tonga’s legal expert, Aisea Taumoepeau (the country’s former Solicitor General) emphasized that consultations at all levels – prior to the drafting of legislation and during the drafting stages – were important to get stakeholders’ support for the legislation.

Local participants from government ministries (Ministry of Finance and National Planning; Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour; Crown Law Office; Customs Department), electrical suppliers and retailers (Courts Limited, Prema and Sons, Chamber of Commerce), national and international organizations (Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, Australia; Asian Development Bank – Promoting Energy Efficiency in the Pacific: Phase 2 [PEEP2]), the Tonga Energy Roadmap Implementation Unit, Tonga Power Limited and a civil society organization (Civil Society Foundation of Tonga) were also part of the workshop.

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