Businesses count losses from outage

Some businesses are counting their losses following an abrupt four-hour power outage that affected Upolu on Sunday afternoon.

The Electrical Power Corporation (E.P.C.) would normally give advanced notice on a scheduled outage. But that did not happen when the blackout occurred just before 3.00pm on Sunday, catching residents, businesses and churches off-guard. 

The E.P.C. released a statement late yesterday saying power supply from its solar system exceeded demand, thereby causing the Fiaga generators to shutdown to maximise renewable production and reduce diesel fuel usage. 

“This caused the system to become unstable, resulting in blackout to the whole island of Upolu at 2.30pm on Sunday. Henceforth, the E.P.C. engineers worked at restoring electricity to the whole country as safely and practically possible. Electricity has been fully restored to the whole island of Upolu as of last night (Sunday night) at 9pm, except for some major buildings in the town area, due to an underground cable and transformer fault resulting from the power outage,” the E.P.C. statement said.

Buildings still affected by the power outage are the Development Bank, the Fish Market, Central Bank and the Government Building. 

“These consumers are currently operating on their standby generators while E.P.C. continues to work on repairing the underground cable and transformer,” stated E.P.C.

Residents in Apia took to social media on Sunday afternoon to criticise the state-owned power company. 

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“Malo Electrical Power Corporation, now that the power went off, you forwarding all the calls to the answering machine while you guys take a break. A servant is not known to hide. Where is your customer service? Someone from 65500 answer me,” posted an Upolu resident, on his Facebook page.

Internet service provider NetVo Samoa advised its customers, in a social media post yesterday, that the power outage over the weekend damaged some of their equipment.

“Some equipment were damaged due to the power outage over the weekend, but please be advised that all equipment have been replaced and LTE service is now back on,” the company post stated.

Most gas stations in Apia turned away vehicle owners on Sunday afternoon, as their pumps could not work without electricity. 

Collin Akeli, who works at the Vailoa gas station, told this newspaper that they would have organised for a standby generator if the E.P.C. gave them advanced notice. 

“The only thing I am not pleased about is that we were not informed. There was no announcement on the media informing that the power would be out. Maintaining a business is not easy, especially when the business relies on electricity.

“The power outage impacted the businesses income and electronics. My situation now is having to restore all the data that was lost during the weekend because of the power outage,” he said.

Petelo Togia from the CB Meredith Station said their business made a loss due to the outage. 

“Once the power went off we were no longer in business. During the duration the power was out, we had lost a lot of customers and that itself was a huge loss to the business. 

“Customers were very unhappy because some of them had come far distances. I know that if we had been notified sooner, we would have been able to have had our generators working, and we would not have lost our customers, as well as damage our machines,” he added.

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