Utilities of Kiribati
Kiribati is highly dependent on petroleum imports for electricity generation. Petroleum use consists of petrol, diesel and kerosene. The government-owned Public Utility Board supplies diesel generated power in South Tarawa. The Kiribati Solar Energy Company provides electricity to outer islands through solar home systems. Initially formed in 1984 by an NGO, the company is now owned entirely by the government. There is little private sector involvement. The Ministry of Public Works and Utilities is responsible for the planning, management and co-ordination of the energy sector.
At present, Kiribati gets all its fossil fuels through imports. However, in order to improve sustainability and to create a market, the country has attempted to make use of biofuels through its local coconut oil and copra industries, via the state-owned Kiribati Copra Milling Company. Kiribati has established a national task force on biofuels, consisting of the Ministry of Works and Energy, the Kiribati Copra Milling Company and the national Kiribati Oil Company, to lead the way in establishing a national biofuel industry. The process is managed by the government-owned Kiribati Oil Company, which imports and supplies fuels for direct use, power generation and transport – usually through contracts with large multinational oil companies.
Groundwater is the main source of freshwater for South Tarawa and outer island residents. Due to the uneven distribution of rainfall throughout the year, rainwater is considered only as a supplementary water source. The government-run Public Utilities Board co-ordinates and manages water supply and sewage disposal on South Tarawa. There are three government departments that deal with the administration of the water sector – the Ministry of Environmental Health, the Ministry of Health and Family Planning, and the Water Unit of the Ministry of Works and Energy Public Utilities Board. The Public Works Division of the Ministry of Works and Energy is responsible for co-ordinating the water supply to the Outer Islands.
Telecommunications, including domestic and international telephone services, mobiles and internet services, are provided by Telecom Services Kiribati, which is fully owned by the government. In July 2005 the Telecommunications Authority of Kiribati was established after the enactment of the Telecommunications Act.