WENO, Chuuk—On January 25th, 2022, His Excellency David W. Panuelo—President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)—joined the Honorable Wesley W. Simina, Speaker of the 22nd FSM Congress; the Honorable Dr. Perpetua S. Konman, Senator representing Southern Namwoneas; the Honorable Alexander R. Narruhn, Governor of the State of Chuuk; the Honorable Gradvin Aisek, Mayor of Tonoas; the Honorable Ricky Robon, Deputy Mayor of Tonoas; Former Vice President of the FSM and contemporary President of the 4th FSM Constitutional Convention, Redley Killion Sr., who also serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of FSM Petroleum Corporation/Vital; Mr. Kembo Mida Jr., CEO of Chuuk Public Utilities Corporation (CPUC); Bishop Julio Angkel; Reverend Hanster Reynold; and many more distinguished men and women, for the Tonoas Lighting Ceremony.
For the first time since the former Empire of Japan ruled over Chuuk Lagoon, Tonoas has electricity.
The lighting of Tonoas means that approximately 500 Micronesian households now have access to power and the freedom that power brings, from an increase in food security to an increase in social program accessibility. Additionally, the Integrated Coconut Processing Facility—which also provides Tonoas power in partnership with CPUC—will bring new job opportunities, a 24/7 revenue source for Micronesian farmers, and the capacity for Micronesia to export its goods to the World.
In his statement, President Panuelo noted that the requests from the people of the State of Chuuk are undeniably humble, but by extension, it is also essential that they be met in full. As such, the President described the more than $40,000,000 in grant project support to CPUC that is presently ongoing. This includes the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded Renewable Energy Development Project & Disaster Risk Reduction program, including $825,000 for Chuuk; the ADBfunded Chuuk Water Systems & Sanitation Project, valued at $20,000,000; the ADB-funded Outer Island Access to Potable Water Project, valued at $2,500,000; the World Bank-funded Sustainable Energy Development & Access Project, with a value of $10,200,000 to expand renewable power on Weno; the European Union-funded EDF11 which is expected to electrify twelve (12) more islands with 100% renewable energy mini-grids, with $5,000,000 allocated for Chuuk; the United Nations Development Program & Global Environment Facility Micronesia Public Sector Buildings Energy Efficiency Project, with a value of $1,300,000; the Japan International Cooperation Assistance-funded program of providing ongoing training to CPUC staff with diesel operation technical training and solar-diesel hybrid technical operations and maintenance training, valued at $1,250,000; a Japan-funded grant to support access to safe drinking water, valued at $1,300,000; and the FSM-funded upgrade of the Tonoas Island distribution line, with $150,000 of financial support to the program.
“We know that Chuuk lags behind the other states of the FSM with only 30% of the people having access to energy, and only two (2) of the forty (40) municipalities having reliable energy and water supply,” President Panuelo said. “The FSM National Government is committed to working with all of you at the state and municipal level, at Vital, and at CPUC, to work hand-in-hand to make this Paradise in Our Backyards another promised land.”
After the lighting ceremony proper, President Panuelo toured Tonoas with Mayor Aisek and the community. “I have given instructions to Postmaster General Ginger Porter Mida,” President Panuelo said, “For her to travel to Chuuk at the nearest opportunity, and for the purpose of exploring the opening up of another Post Office in Southern Namwoneas, in addition to the Post Office being prepared for Faichuk.”