Family of electrocuted boy reach settlement with the EPC

The family of an eight-year-old boy who was electrocuted in Tuaefu last year have reached a settlement with the Electric Power Corporation (EPC).

EPC Chief Executive Officer, Tologata Tile Tuimaleali’ifano, told Samoa Observer in an interview that the corporation has settled the matter with the family and he is not a liberty to divulge the details of the settlement. 

 “We have settled this matter with the family and we have also signed a confidential agreement and therefore I cannot tell you anything else. The settlement is in addition to the $20,000 paid to the family at the time for funeral purposes," he said. 

The eight-year-old boy was electrocuted by a faulty electrical wire at Tuaefu in February last year, days after Tropical Cyclone Gita.

While the corporation has agreed on a settlement with the family, Tologata stressed the need for the public to immediately alert the EPC when they see faulty wires, especially after a natural disaster. 

“All in all, the faulty wires should have been reported to our office immediately, given the country was facing a blackout due to the aftermath of Gita.

“Also this should also serve as reminder to us parents to be vigilant, when it comes to our young children. This was an eight-year-old gallivanting on the road without any adult supervision, yet just after a cyclone…. we should be more attentive to our young children,” he added. 

 Tologata said there are laws in place to protect the EPC when it comes to such issues, given that the incident occurred days after the tropical cyclone, and it was highly likely there were faulty lines that were downed by fallen trees. 

“This is why we depend heavily on members of the public to report faulty wires to our office,” he added. 

The family of the deceased boy declined to be interviewed when approached yesterday by this newspaper. 

As reported last year, Tologata said they have proposed to the Attorney General’s Office to consider drafting a Bill to ban the planting of trees next to electricity poles and lines.   

“This law is mainly for the safety of the public because there are cases where families cut down a tree and it falls on a line, they will eventually call us.” 

“Members of the public need to know that there is a huge impact of trees falling on electricity poles, in some cases, there is a possibility that this one tree will eliminate the power for the whole district.  

“Yet families don’t really consider the impact until something goes wrong,” he added. 

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