Further Government losses through unreliable prepaid electricity meters revealed

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: WEDNESDAY 09 APRIL 2014: Cash power credits already punched in the prepaid electricity meters are still providing credits for some families.

This was revealed by MP Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi in the Tautua Samoa press conference today. He said some members of his family have used a cash power credit twice.

“After days of the piece of paper lying around, they punched it in again and to their surprise, they got credit,” he explained.

Lealailepule is calling on the Electric Power Corporation (EPC) to investigate this plunder.

“We are losing millions over this,” he said.

Lealailepule is not blaming the Government but the company hired by EPC to provide the cash power or pre-paid electricity meters.

The issue was raised in Parliament two weeks ago, and the Minister responsible for EPC Manu’alesagalala Enokati Posala said EPC was looking at employing a different contractor to provide cash power meters as the current meters are not secure.

Parliament heard that a lot of people are using electricity illegally through meter tampering and is costing the Government millions of dollars a year.

Also raised in the press conference was the sudden power cut last Sunday night.

Tautua believes in order for EPC to solve this problem they need to invest on quality diesel.

“They need to hire an expert engineer to monitor the generators,” said party whip Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi.

According to Lealailepule, if a generator was bought from Japan, the contract should have included an engineer from Japan to work at Fiaga for a year and train locals and oversee any technical problems as now experienced.

“They don’t have to wait for months to get someone from overseas to do the job,” said Lealailepule.

“They also need to look at using quality diesel to operate the generators,” said Levaopolo Talatonu Vaai, shadow minister for EPC.

Tautua believes the reason given yesterday by the EPC Chief Executive Officer Tologata Tile Lei’a Tuimalealiifano was just an excuse.

They also rubbished the response from the EPC Minister, Manu’alesagalala Enokati Posala who blamed the diesel used to generate electricity as the cause of the power cut.

“If the diesel is the problem, then they need to look at quality diesel,” said Lealailepule.

Tautua said the answer to the problem is very simple.

“Buy another generator to make up for the 2.2 megawatts needed to cater for the peak demand of electricity usage,” said Levaopolo.

He believes the system shuts down when the usage goes above 17 megawatts at peak demand when the system cannot cope.

Manu’alesagalala said there was no need as there are two reserve generators at Fiaga.

Levaopolo insists the four generators at Fiaga are all in full operation now.

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