Interior Funding Powers Utilities in Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States

Through Regional Training, Collaboration, and Building Local Capacity

Last edited 11/30/2020
Contact Information

Tanya Harris Joshua 202-208-6008,

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 8, 2017) – Interior Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Nikolao Pula this week made available $380,447 in maintenance assistance funding from the Office of Insular Affairs to support two regional initiatives and one local initiative that support and bolster capacity for the power utilities in all main islands of the Pacific U.S. insular areas. 

“Electrical power is costly for residents in the territories and freely associated states,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Pula. “We do all we can to help them keep costs down through building local capacity and facilitating collaboration of ideas and expertise.”

The projects funded from FY2017 OIA Maintenance Assistance Funds are as follow:

Pacific Linemen Training Program - $224,000 is for the Yap State Public Service Corporation to provide 28 weeks of advanced professional certification training to 80 power linemen, a collaboration of power authorities from six insular areas:  American Samoa, Guam, Majuro, Palau, Pohnpei and Yap. Training this year will be especially critical for American Samoa, Palau and Pohnpei who are experiencing severe shortages of qualified power linemen due to attrition and retirement.  The training will include disaster planning workshops to help the islands recover more quickly from storms. For the past three years, power linemen trained in this program have been assisting power utilities on Chuuk, Ulithi, and Saipan deal with repairs and recovery efforts following typhoons Maysak and Soudelor. 

Pacific Power Association - $36,447 to fund the participation of 10 technical engineers from power utilities in the Pacific region at the 26th Annual Conference of the Pacific Power Association to discuss regional benchmarking, renewable energy resource mapping and integration, and disaster risk reduction initiatives.  Participants to the conference will come from American Samoa, Guam, Yap, Kwajalein, Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Majuro, Saipan, and Palau and will match dollar for dollar the cost of their participation.

Professional Training and Apprenticeship Program - $120,000 is provided to the American Samoa Power Authority to build and develop local engineers and technical personnel critical to the operations and continued success of the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA).  Funding for the current year is being matched 2 to 1 by ASPA and will fund 17 apprentices, including 3 power system engineers, 2 energy technology engineers, 2 water/wastewater civil engineers, 6 photovoltaic system technicians, and 4 electronic meter technicians.  This is the fourth and final year of the program, with $370,000 provided in prior years beginning in fiscal year 2014.


The Department of the Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy with respect to the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance provided to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association.  The Office of Insular Affairs’ mission is to foster economic opportunities, promote government efficiency, and improve the quality of life for the people of the insular areas.


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