Electricity to cost more next month

Samoans can expect a $0.09 sene increase in the price of electricity effective from March 1 as approved by the Office of the Regulator. 

Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C.) General Manager, Tologata Tile Tuimalealiifano, confirmed this to the Samoa Observer in an interview yesterday. 

Tologata said this increase applies to all domestic and non-domestic users for cash power and induction meter users. 

Domestic cash power consumers will now pay $0.67 per unit for 1-100 kilowatts and $0.81 per unit for 101 kilowatts and over. 

The $0.81 new electricity price also applies to non-domestic consumers for cash power and domestic consumers for induction meter users, whereas non-domestic consumers will pay $0.86 sene for all units. 

Tologata said it is the consumers who will feel the burden of the increase, because E.P.C. is trying to recover the expenses on the cost of operation from last year November to this month – since the last increase in fuel prices.   

“This is always the complaint from consumers because the price of electricity is not going in line with the price of fuel because of the time lapse,” he said. 

“Before we had the three months review – we did it every month but even if we do it every month – we use the actuals from the past month to work out the new tariffs for the next month so by the time we implement, it’s already two months behind. So we had to compare the new tariff with the fuel prices two months before. 

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“The tariff at the moment is not in line with the current fuel price. We used the fuel price of two months ago, and this is why the consumer cannot tell. Sometimes the fuel price drops this month, but we are increasing the tariff because of the fuel price two months ago to make up for the shortfall, because fuel price is a pass-on cost and it’s not a profit to EPC. 

“It’s a pass-on cost so we can recover our expense because that’s the amount we pay for the fuel we use. So we don’t have any add on sene to the fuel price.” 

 Tologata said the last review that they had for 12 months was only approved by the Regulator in November last year with conditions that every three months they had to review it. 

“But we fixed the rate for the three months – November, December, January – unfortunately we now include February because the process takes a little bit longer,” he said, adding for EPC the tariff changes have a disadvantage and advantage to us. 

“We were trying to put a fixed rate for 12 months to avoid a lot of work because every month before we had this change, we change the tariff every month and it’s a lot of work, we have to advertise, so we came up with the idea to fix it for 12 months, look at the rates from past years, fix it to 12 months and after 12 months it can be reviewed. 

“But there are some pros and cons to us like what we’ve experienced now. It’s only three months but we were heavily hit by the fuel price, not much production from the hydro because it was very dry during November and December, we are now getting some rain. So those are the contributing factors that really have a negative impact on our operation.” 

Tologata said they have asked the regulator for EPC to make changes to the tariff every month, and for the Regulator to monitor EPC. 

“We are also providing all the information to them, but they still want us to provide that information and for them to approve something before we implement. 

“This time the consumers are feeling the negative impact. The consumers benefited since November until this month because the price is very low, and our actual expenses to purchase the fuel and operations were much higher.”

Tologata said people are still saying the price of electricity is still expensive but this is not the case compared to past years. 

“From our records, if we compare the price of electricity now to 10 years ago, we are much cheaper. But mind you, as we go on the price of electricity will always increase that’s the world trend.”

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