Tonga Government Criticized Over Electricity Rates

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Solar power initiatives apparently not bringing down costs

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 2, 2013) – Tongan civil society groups have slammed the government for failing to slash electricity prices after the opening of a major solar power station.

Civil Society Forum spokeswoman Pelenatita Kara told Pacific Beat Tongans are still waiting for cheaper power rates after a solar power station on the country's main Island Tongatapu began operating earlier this year.

"They (the government) have promised it's going to go down but it doesn't seem to be that way," she said.

Ms Kara said there was not enough communication from the government on its failure to deliver on its promise of lowering prices.

"There hasn't been an official statement on why these things have not been done."

The Tongan government launched its energy plan in 2010 with ambitious aims to cut its dependence on foreign energy sources and set a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2020.

Ms Kara said not enough power was being generated to bring prices down.

She said electricity was not affordable with Tongans suffering more power cuts and greater expenses in reconnecting electricity.

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