Regulator rejects E.P.C rates proposal

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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REGULATOR: Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti.

REGULATOR: Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti. (Photo: Samoa Observer / File)

A proposal by the Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C.) to increase electricity fees has been denied by the Office of the Regulator. 

This was uncovered in the Multi Year Tariff annual review of E.P.C’s proposal that is reviewed by the Regulator as required under the law. 

The Review document, obtained by the Samoa Observer and signed by the Regulator, Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti, indicated that E.P.C. filed an application requesting changes to electricity tariff rates and its rate structure. 

“In its application E.P.C., proposed a reduction of $0.03 sene/kWh (kilowatts per hour) for the debt charge. 

“For the usage charge, E.P.C. proposed the introduction of a lower lifeline tariff rate for domestic cash power and induction users with electricity consumption below 50kWh/month. 

“E.P.C., however proposed significant increases in the usage charge for all other users with consumption above 50kWh.” 

According to the review, the impact of E.P.C.’s proposed lifeline rate would be to change the existing tariff structure for domestic cash power consumers from its current two-tier structure range of 1-100kWh and 101+ to a two-tier structure of 1-50kWh and 50kWh. 

“Domestic Induction consumers would move from the current flat rate tariff to the same two-tier structure as proposed for domestic cash power consumers,” says the Regulator’s review. 

The findings are based on the evidence attained from E.P.C. and through consultations with stakeholders who took the opportunity to provide valuable input and information.

The Review says that findings and considerations for the regulated Financial Year 2017/2018 that current tariff classes for Domestic consumers are that cash power two-tiers, also the induction all kWh in one flat rate.

Chief Executive of the Electric Power Corporation Tologata Tile Tuimalealiifano.
Chief Executive of the Electric Power Corporation Tologata Tile Tuimalealiifano.

Denying E.P.C.’s proposed rates, the Regulator ordered that non-domestic consumers for cash power all kWh in one flat rate and induction all kWh in one flat rate. 

Also included in the review was the report measure E.P.C. is taking to improve its quality of service, considering but not limited to: increases in the number of outlets for cash power sales, availability of $10 scratch cards, free call code for scratch cards.

They were also ordered to submit to the Regulator the first report on the first quarter July-September 2017.

The Regulator’s order on the Multi-Year Tariff filing for 2018-2021 for E.P.C. to undertake a comprehensive review of expenditures to determine what a reasonable efficient utility should be able to recover through a regulated tariff, with a multi-year tariff filing for 2018-2021.

“Propose appropriate capital provision; propose incentives when customers pay their electricity bills in advance.

“Submit a complete tariff filing with the Regulator five months before the end of current financial year. 

“As such, E.P.C. must file its Multi-Year Tariff application by 31st January, 2018.” 

Regarding the Power System Expansion Plan, Lefaoali’i ordered E.P.C. to file with its Multi-Year tariff case, a power system expansion plan as required under Section 27 of the Electricity Act 2010 that incorporates at a minimum all new renewable energy and any new generation added through the Power Sector Expansion Project and Rehabilitation projects.

Also to file a power system expansion plan for the Regulator’s approval prior to submitting any Power Purchase Agreements for the approval of the Regulator.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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