Interior Announces $247,405 in Funding Support for Power Utilities and Lineman Training in the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2018) – Doug Domenech, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular and International Affairs has announced $230,000 to support the 2018 Pacific Lineman Training program for linesmen from American Samoa, Guam, Ebeye, Majuro, Palau, Pohnpei, and Yap.  An additional $17,405 will support participation in workshops and meetings sponsored by the Pacific Power Association for the three U.S. Pacific territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

“Secretary Zinke has prioritized energy independence and an important component of that is ensuring that teams in the islands are trained and expert to provide safe, consistent, and effective delivery of electricity throughout their communities,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech.  “Families, health services, schools, the private sector, and other industries in the islands all rely on these services.”

The FY2018 Maintenance Assistance Program funding provided is as follows:

Yap State Public Service Corporation – $230,000 for the 2018 Pacific Lineman Training Program that will provide 26 weeks of nationally recognized basic lineman certification training from August 2018 – April 2019.  Seventy-two power linemen from the seven insular areas of American Samoa (12), Guam (7), Ebeye (2), Majuro (10), Palau (10), Pohnpei (10) and Yap (21) will participate.

Island utilities face severe shortages of qualified power linemen, due to attrition and retirement. The Pacific Lineman Training program ensures each island maintains adequately trained line crews, with the capability of operating and maintaining the power distribution infrastructure of their islands.  Line crews in the islands have been effective in ensuring quality and reliable electrical service in the islands.  They have also collaborated with other islands in bringing island power infrastructure back up following storms and typhoons in the region.  Each island utility participating in the program is contributing to the matching dollar amount of $213,495 towards the total project cost of $443,495.

Pacific Power Association – $17,405 to support the 9th Annual Utility Engineers’ Workshop and the 27th Annual Conference for 2018.  Funding will support participation by the utilities’ technical staff from American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam to attend the above-referenced workshop and conference.  The territory governments will provide matching funds of $9,050.

The Maintenance Assistance Program provided by the U.S. Congress through the Office of Insular Affairs promotes and develops institutions and capacities towards the improvement of infrastructure operation and maintenance in the U.S. territories and freely associated states.