Until recently, when the sun set over the Federated States of Micronesia, much of the state of Chuuk would go dark.
With a population of just over 100,000 inhabitants and over 3,700 kilometers (2,230 miles) from its nearest market of Japan, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) faces numerous problems related to its small size and isolation. However, one recurring and core challenge facing FSM has been getting consistent, affordable electricity to homes, families and businesses.
Yet the flickering of hundreds of new streetlights across Chuuk’s main island of Weno tell a story: that times are changing.
New streetlights make roads safer
The new streetlights are part of a work between the World Bank and FSM’s Department of Resources and Development in partnership with the state of Chuuk and the Chuuk Public Utility Corporation to power up the state’s main island. The benefits of more efficient and cheaper streetlights are immense. They allow residents to walk home safely at night, local businesses to operate longer, and they make driving at night considerably safer. The World Bank-supported Energy Sector Development Project is supporting the improvement of the generation, efficiency and reliability of electricity supply across the country.
“While each state of FSM is benefiting from the program, here in Chuuk we managed to put just under 400 streetlights right across the system,” explained Mark Waite, former CEO of the Chuuk Public Utility Corporation. “Prior to that there were very few streetlights available.”
The people of Chuuk have noticed the difference.