Govt. delivers on electricity promise

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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ELECTRICITY MATTERS: General Manager of E.P.C., Tologata Galumalemana Tile Lei'a and the Chairman of E.P.C. Board, Pepe Fiaailetoa Fruean.

ELECTRICITY MATTERS: General Manager of E.P.C., Tologata Galumalemana Tile Lei'a and the Chairman of E.P.C. Board, Pepe Fiaailetoa Fruean. (Photo: Vavaemuitiiti Samasoni-Fepuleai (E.P.C. Corporate Governance Division))

The Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C.) has some exciting news for you.

The cost of tariffs for electricity will be reduced significantly starting from 1 August 2016. In doing so, the government has finally delivered on a promise to reduce the cost of electricity.

The exciting announcement was made by the Chairman of E.P.C’s Board of Directors, Pepe Fiaailetoa Fruean and the General Manager of E.P.C., Tologata Tile Leia, during a press conference yesterday. 

The reduction follows reviews carried out by the E.P.C. and the Office of the Regulator with regards to tariffs. 

“This continuous work is in consistence with government strategies as listed in the Energy sector policy to reduce the cost of tariffs for not only home but also for businesses to be put into play,” Pepe said.

This includes the installation of generators and launching more renewable energy projects by the government and E.P.C.

“E.P.C. has been going through a transformation which involves installing not only generators at Fiaga and also other places, but also improves strategies on improving in our renewable energy. 

“We’ve launched some of the solar plants already and all the culmination of all these improvements in efficiency and increasing renewable energy has allowed the E.P.C. to improve the effectiveness of generation.

“So on the first of August, what you are going to see is the delivery of these efficiency to our stakeholders and members of the public.”

The cost of tariff has significantly dropped down according to the changes. Tariff is basically how much you pay for the unit of electricity. It’s the price of electricity. 

“For 50 percent of consumers at E.P.C in the country, they use less than hundred units a month. So the tariff reduction for 50% of the consumers is a reduction of 29%.

“In June last year, the tariff was .77sene per unit for cash power home users. 

“Effective on the 1 August, that tariff will reduce to .55 sene.”

This means that in June last year, to get 100 units worth of cash power we had to pay $77. However, starting next month, we will have to pay $55 to get 100 units for Cash power.

“It means that you have an extra $22 to spend on other things for the family,” said Pepe. 

“And I think that’s the important of these changes, as much as that $22 represents efficiency gains of EPC but it also has an impact on the lives of our people.

“And I think this is also the will of our government that a lot of initiative results in the improvements in the lives of our people. And for that I would like to congratulate the EPC and also the previous board and also the government for the good initiative and for the hard work.”

Pepe added on saying that this is a great achievement for E.P.C. 

“This is a great achievement for the management and the workers who have been doing this work for a very long time. I give credit to the whole E.P.C team for being able to deliver the government’s promise on the reduction of tariffs.”

For post paid users, or meter users, the cost of electricity tariff used to be .83 sene. But that price has dropped down to .69sene starting next month. 

For businesses, the cost of tariff for cash power used to be .82 per unit. That price had also dropped down to .69 sene per unit. As for government Ministries, the cost of tariff has dropped from .83 sene to .79 sene per unit. 

However, since we rely 70% on generation, Pepe that it is possible for the cost of tariffs to increase again depending on the cost of diesel.

“Because we still rely 70% on generation,” said Pepe.“So whenever the price of diesel goes up, we have to adjust.”

Moreover, he said that E.P.C will be reviewing the cost of diesel monthly and present it to the Office of the Regulator and seek their approval on the cost of diesel. 

“It’s not something that EPC can just come up with and figure out on their own,” he said.

“So every month, we will be looking for an approval from the office of the regulator if there will be any changes.”

But changes are possible, he added.

“It all depends on what the world prices are for diesel.”

“However, I think the real question is how can we reduce on relying on that component of the tariff? 

“And how we can do that is to increase the renewable energy component, especially the hydro electricity component.”

Said Pepe, they are working on increasing the percentage of renewable energy reliance from 30% to deduce relying on generation for electricity supply. 

“We have been working with the board and cabinet to find more renewable resources so that we can reduce the reliance on diesel and I think that’s one of the government’s priorities. 

“We are at 30% and we are obviously looking at having more renewable. 

“However, diesel has reduced significantly over the last couple of years. But we don’t expect it to go up every month.”

The following is the press release issued by E.P.C about the tariffs yesterday:

Government delivers on its promise to reduce Electricity rates for Homes and business

On Wednesday 20 July 2016 the Prime Minister and Cabinet following through with the Strategy for the Development of Samoa 2012 - 2016, the Energy Sector Plan 2014 -2018, United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7—Ensure Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable and Modern Energy for All and the Government Manifesto have approved a significant reduction in electricity rates for both homes and businesses.

To this end EPC is pleased to announce Regulator Order No.2016/E40 for a revised tariff structure for electricity to be effective on 1st August 2016 until 30 June 2017.

“This is to ensure that EPC continues to provide sustainable and affordable electricity rates for all our consumers”, the General Manager, Tologata Tile Lei’a says.

The revised tariff structure reflects the removal of the three-tier categories for home consumers using post paid meters and replaces it with with a two-tier category for home consumers on prepaid meters.

Meanwhile, the tariff structure is broken down into three components namely (i) Usage Charge, (ii) Debt Charge and (iii) Energy Charge. Both Usage Charge and Debt Charge are fixed until 30 June 2017 while Energy Charge varies or changes every month depending on world diesel fuel/oil prices and renewable energy contribution. The energy charge is reviewed every month and approved by the Office of the Regulator.

“For home consumers on postpaid meters, they will be charged a fixed rate of 36 sene (Usage and Debt Charges) plus 33 sene for Energy Charge for all units used. The 33 sene Energy Charge for August 2016 will be adjusted every month for all units used” Tologata explains.

He added that home consumers on prepaid meters will be charged on the two categories of;

1) 1 to 100 units used will charge a fixed rate of 22 sene (Usage and Debt Charges) plus 33 sene for

Energy Charge for August and will vary every month,

2) 101 and more units used will charge a fixed rate of 36 sene (Usage and Debt Charges) plus 33 senefor Energy Charge for August and will vary every month.

On the other hand, business consumers will be charged by one tier with a fixed rate of 36 sene (Usage and Debt Charges) plus 33 sene for Energy Charge for August and will vary every month.

Home consumers on postpaid meters will be charged a fixed rate of 36 sene (Usage and Debt Charges) plus 33 sene for Energy Charge for August for all units used. The Energy Charge will vary every month. Business consumers will be charged a fixed rate of 46 sene (Usage and Debt Charges) plus 33 sene for Energy Charge for August and will vary every month.

As a result of the much lower new rates for prepaid meters as compared to postpaid meters, the 2% discount that was applied for prepaid meters and advance payment of bills has now being removed.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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