10 Nov 2014

Tonga's Ha'apai power network being rebuilt

5:00 pm on 10 November 2014

Tonga Power has begun rebuilding Ha'apai's electricity network after 90 percent of it was destroyed by Cyclone Ian in January.

The Asian Development Bank will fund the 2.7 million US dollar project, which is expected to take about a year to complete.

Tonga Power's chief executive, John van Brink, says the new network will use materials and a design more resilient to cyclones.

"This project will actually put whole new high voltage and low voltage networks in place throughout the islands, connecting about 1,000 customers. And it will also provide underground connections from our networks into the houses, which makes them a lot safer and more reliable."

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Photo: RNZAF

John van Brink says there are some challenges to the rebuild.

He says a lack of surveying in the past means Tonga Power must resurvey whole villages to find property boundaries, and the low-lying islands make it more difficult to secure power poles in the ground.