ABOUT seven million people of the Pacific region's 10-million population still do not have access to electricity, says Secretariat of the Pacific Community director-general Dr Colin Tukuitonga.
Dr Tukuitonga said most of the seven million were from Melanesian countries.
"While roughly 68 per cent of small island states access electricity, the larger and more populated islands of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Island and Vanuatu are only 12 per cent, 14 per cent and 28 per cent respectively," he said.
He said the costs of electricity in the region were higher compared with other global regions.
"The costs of electricity and petroleum in the region are among the highest in the world averaging around 20 per cent of total household income.
"Approximately 68 per cent is being consumed in the commercial and industrial sectors. Energy losses from inefficient utilities can be as high as 25 per cent."
Dr Tukuitonga said energy efficiency and conservation efforts for the past decade had traditionally been focused at the power sector.
"Energy plays a critical role as an engine for economic growth and social development.
"Ensuring access to affordable, modern and reliable energy resources for all is also important for poverty eradication and provision of basic services."