Contact Us









Source: The World Fact Book, CIA

Figure 1: Map of Tonga


Table 1: General Information on Tonga

Neighbouring Countries

Fiji, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa and Wallis & Futuna

Capital City


Land Area

717 sq km


Tongan pa'anga (T$)

Exchange Rate

T$1.75/US$ (average 2011) /1

Population Size(habitants)


Number of Households


GDP per Capita

US$3,136 (2009)/2

Electrification Rate(%)

89% /3

Source: /1
             /2 Renewable Energy Country Profiles, Pacific, International Renewable Energy Agency (
             /3 The Energy Security Indicators for the Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific, SPC, 2012
             /4 Others: Tonga Department of Statistics, SPC




Tonga is highly dependent on imported fuels to meet its overall energy requirements, and the total fuel import accounts for about 20% of the total import value in 2011 (SPC, 2012).  All grid-supplied electricity, accounting for over 98% of electricity used in Tonga, is based on diesel generation, and the largest single fuel consumer is the Tonga Power Limited (TPL), which supplies grid electricity throughout the country.  This makes the Tongan economy and electricity consumers exposed to high and volatile electricity prices linked to oil prices over the last ten years.

Energy Efficiency Policies and Regulations:
The Government of Tonga (GoT) has realized the situation and aimed to reduce the vulnerability of the country to future oil price shocks and in April 2009, GoT embarked on a process to develop the "Tonga Energy Road Map 2010-2020" or TERM.  Development of TERM is a joint effort among GoT and Tonga Power Ltd. (TPL) and other development partners.  The objective of the TERM is to lay out a least cost approach and implementation plan to reduce Tonga’s vulnerability to oil price shocks and achieve an increase in quality access to modern energy services in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner.

TERM will serve as the guiding document for Government actions and development partner support. On-grid renewable energy will be a major component of TERM, however, the following will be assessed to determine the least cost combination of interventions:

  • Improvements in Petroleum Supply chain to reduce the price and price fluctuation of imported petroleum products;
  • Efficiency of conversion of petroleum to electricity (i.e. increases in efficiency and reduced losses at TPL);
  • Efficiency of conversion of electricity into consumer electricity services (Demand Side Management measures);
  • Replacing a portion of current or future grid-based generation with renewable energy.

In addition to TERM, there have been several policy and legislative initiatives in Tonga aimed at improving the legal framework for the electricity sector and the implementation of renewable energy projects.  These include:

  • The National Strategic Planning Framework: This provides for improving framework electricity generation systems and their management in order to improve the living standards of all Tongans. The framework highlights a desire to both improve services, accountability, and appropriate revenue collection as well as improve the coordination of development partners.
  • The Electricity Act, 2007:  The Act is provided for the establishment of the Electricity Commission to regulate tariffs, consumer service standards and electrical safety. The regulatory framework employed is a “concession contract” model. Tariffs, tariff adjustment formulas, operational efficiency benchmarks, consumer service standards and penalties for non-achievement are specified in a contract between the Electricity Commission, on behalf of the Kingdom, and TPL.
  • The Renewable Energy Bill, 2009:  The bill was sponsored by the Energy Planning Unit of the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources with support from SOPAC.  The primary purpose of this Bill is to provide a legal framework to promote the utilization of renewable energy in Tonga through the creation of an enabling market environment.

Key Energy Efficiency Stakeholders:
Review of various reports and studies have suggested that the following agencies may have a role relevant to development and implementation of Energy Efficiency projects and activities in Tonga. These are:

  • The Energy Planning Unit (EPU) within the Ministry of Lands, Environment and Climate Change
  • Tonga Power Limited (TPL)
  • Other agencies, including but not limited to, Statistics Division, Ministry of Finance and Nation Planning, Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Industries, and Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.




The power industry in Tonga has been through 2 major transformations over the past decades.  Firstly, in 1998, the national utility was bought by Shoreline Power, and, secondly, in mid 2008, the GoT bought the assets from Shoreline to create Tonga Power Limited (TPL) as a state-owned enterprise.

Electricity Supply:
TPL has the concession and operates four independent grids in Tonga: the largest on Tongatapu, and three smaller grids on the main islands of the Vava’u, Ha’apai and Eua island groups.  On-grid electricity supply in Tonga is generated from diesel.  The system serving all of Tongatapu is the largest of the four grid systems operated by TPL, representing about 86% of the total installed capacity.  The installed capacity of the power stations that supplied electricity to the urban areas of Tongatapu, Ha’apai, Vava’u and ‘Eua, based on TPL’s October 2012 report for the Electricity Commission, are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Installed Capacity in the Four Main Islands

Island Group

Capacity (MW)/1


13.9 /2









Source: /1 Source: TPL’s report to the Electricity Commission, October 2012
             /2 Diesel Generation: 12.6 MW, and Solar and Wind Farm: 1.3 MW


The primary distribution system in Tongatapu operates at 11 kV. The low voltage network operates at a three/single phase standard of 415/240V. The primary distribution system in the Vava’u and Ha’apai group and in ‘Eua operates at 6.6 kV, three/single phase standard of 415/240V.  Based on the TPL’s report submitted to the Electricity Commission in October 2012, the total system losses in the month of August 2012 is 13.9%.

Electricity Tariff:
As all of the electricity on the TPL grid is supplied from diesel electric generation, the price of diesel fuel is the major component of electric tariff.  The tariff structure changed in May 2009 made the tariff uniform across all the four island groups, and based on the the TPL website (, TPL's current Electricity Tariff Schedule is shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Electricity Tariff in Tonga (October 2012)

Island Group

Fuel (Seneti/kWh)

Non-Fuel (Seneti/kWh)

Total (Seneti/kWh)

Total (US$/kWh)





















Source: 1.
             2. US$1 = T$1.75 (average Interbank rage,

Electricity Demand:

The 2006 Population Census in Tonga shows that around 90% of the total households have access to electricity.  Growth in number of electricity consumers has been less than 0.7% annually since 2005, as all consumers within the reach of the grid have been connected.  Based on the TPL’s website, the total number of customers in all 4 island groups is 20,539, as shown in Table 6.4, and electricity consumptions by end-use sector are shown in Figure 2


Source: EPC Annual Report, 2011
Figure 2: Electricity Consumption by End-Use Sector


Demand Profile:
Based on data from TPL, Tongatapu’s peak load demand is about 7MW, and the electricity demand profiles clearly reflect contributions from the commercial and residential sectors.  In general, there are 2 electricity peak demands on weekdays, i.e. late morning to early afternoon peak and evening peak.  Analysis of the load profile showed that the major contributors to daytime load are commercial customers (primarily air-conditioning and lighting).  The decrease in commercial sector activities in the afternoon (around 4pm) is replaced by the increase in the residential sector activities (primarily lighting and cooking) resulting in an evening peak around 8pm.  In general, mid-day peak demands during weekdays are higher than weekends and the differences are estimated around 15% to 20%, and the wet season demands are also generally higher than the dry season demands, due to higher average temperatures, as shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4.

Source: TPL, 2012
Figure 3: Tongatapu Demand Profile, Wet Season

Source: TPL, 2012
Figure 4: Tongatapu Demand Profile, Dry Season




Residential Sector:
The latest Census in Tonga does not include collection of data on sizes, energy performance (presence of energy labels on appliances, and power consumption rating) and usage patterns, therefore energy performance of household appliances in Tonga will be determined based on the results of a household survey to be conducted by the PEEP2 project in early 2013 to collect additional data to better determine the baselines of energy performance of household appliances.  Findings from residential data collections and analysis in Tonga are discussed in the following sections.

Ownership of Household Appliances:
Based on the 2011 Population Census, there are a total of 18,162 households in Tonga, and according to SPC, around 90% of the Tongan households are electrified.  Ownerships of selected household appliances as summarized in the 2006 Census reports are shown in Table 5.  Based on typical power consumption per unit, average daily operating hours, the priority electrical appliances in Tonga would include: Refrigerator, Freezer, Television, Washing Machine, Air-Conditioners and Lighting Products.

Table 5: Ownership of Selected Household Appliances in Tonga


2006 (%) /1







Video/DVD Player


Washing Machine


Microwave Oven


Rice Cooker


Electric Fan




Electric Kettle


Water Pump




Source:/1 Tonga 2006 Census of Population and Housing
            /2 Figures for refrigerators and freezers for the 2006 Census were combined.

Based on data provided by the Customs Department and Tonga Department of Statistics (TDoS), two major import origins are identified, i.e.: 1) wholesalers/trading companies in Australia/New Zealand of which products usually comply with AUS/NZ MEPS and Energy Labeling requirements, and; 2) wholesalers/trading companies in other countries (e.g. China, Fiji and Singapore) from which products may or may not comply with MEPS or Energy Labeling of the respective countries of origin.  Analysis of import statistics from 2008 to 2011 has shown that penetration of non-AUS/NZ appliances has increased for most types of appliances, except fluorescent lighting.

Source: Tonga Department of Statistics
Figure 5: Imports of Major Electrical Appliances in Tonga (2008 -2011)

It should be noted that using import units is a more accurate way of determining the share of each country as the import value share is influenced by exchange rates and equipment costs, i.e. the electrical equipment import value from Australia and New Zealand is typically higher than that of the People’s Republic of China (China).   However, the Customs departments usually interest in determining the value of the imported electrical appliances for taxation purposes and therefore the number of imported units is not usually a priority or correctly indicated by the supplier and/or customs officer, especially with regards to small electrical appliances such as lamps.

Based on available import statistics and market observations during the country visits, the PEEP2 project team summarizes indicative energy performance of household appliances in Tonga, as shown in Table 6.

Table 6: Indicative Energy Performance of Priority Household Appliances in Tonga

Electrical Appliance

Common Type

Indicative Energy Performance


2-Door Fridge/Freezer

Around 75% comply with AUS/NZ MEPS and the remaining share comply with Singaporean MEPS


Chest Freezer

Around 25% comply with AUS/NZ MEPS and the remaining share comply with Singaporean MEPS and Chinese MEPS



A small number of televisions had US Energy Star although not clearly identifiable. None had Aus/NZ Energy Labels

Domestic Washing Machines

Front Loaded and Top Loaded

Around 25% comply with AUS/NZ MEPS

Air Conditioners


Around 50% comply with Singaporean MEPS and the remaining share comply with AUS/NZ MEPS and Chinese MEPS

Source: Import statistics 2008 – 2011, Tonga Department of Statistics, and market surveys conducted by the PEEP2 Project Team

The data gathered during the in-country retailer surveys includes information on appliance brands, country of manufacture, and complements existing customs data presented above. Note that information of electrical appliance brands and country of manufacture is not comprehensive. The country of manufacture of certain appliances is not easily identifiable and in some cases could only be identified through the product’s user manual.

Table 7: Brands and Countries of Manufacture of Common Household Appliances in Tonga

Electrical Appliance


Countries of Manufacture


SHARP, LG , Prema, Kelvinator, Westinghouse, Akira, Mabe, Fisher & Paykel, Hitachi, Simmons, Haier

Almost all non-AUS/NZ labelled refrigerator/freezers are manufactured in Thailand. The HAIER brand with AUS/NZ labels are also from Thailand


Prema, Kelvinator

Almost all non-AUS/NZ labelled refrigerator/freezers are manufactured in Thailand. The HAIER brand with AUS/NZ labels are also from Thailand

Air Conditioners
(all sizes)

Hitachi, Simmons



Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, LG


Domestic Washing Machines

Simpson, Heller, Fisher & Paykel, Simmons


Compact Fluorescent Lamps



Incandescent Lamps

Philips, GE


Source:  Market surveys conducted by the PEEP2 Project Team

Figure 6: Refrigerators with AUS/NZ Energy Labels in Retailers in Tonga

Building Sector:

The primary building categories in Tonga would include: Public Sector (Government) Buildings, Private Sector Buildings (offices and retailers), Hotels and Resorts, and Hospitals.  Necessary data to determine energy use baselines for the building sector, including building stock data and Energy Use Index (EUI) or Specific Energy Consumption (SEC), is not available in Tonga.  The PEEP2 Project is currently conducting building surveys in Tonga to compile all necessary data to establish the energy use baselines for the building sector.The building survey is to be completed by the end of 2012 and the survey findings will be entered into the online database in early 2013.

Street and Outdoor Lighting:
Based on data provided by TPL, there are a total 3,218 light points for street and outdoor lighting in the four island groups, as summarized in Table 8.  However, data on lamp types is not available from TPL, therefore, additional data on street and outdoor lighting inventory in Tonga is to be compiled to establish the weighted average lamp efficacy for all street and outdoor lighting in the country.The PEEP2 project team will discuss with TPL and attempt to complete the street lighting survey by the first quarter of 2013.

Table 8: Number of Light Points for Street and Outdoor Lighting in Tonga

Island Group

No. of Light Points











Source: PEEP2 LED Streetlight Pilot Project in the Kingdom of Tonga, March 2012



S5 Box



Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.