Abrupt power outage hits small businesses

Small business owners on Upolu were affected by the abrupt power outage last Monday.

A survey of two businesses by Samoa Observer revealed that the power outage led to losses for the money-making ventures.

Ferdinand Electronic Service Center owner, Ferdinand Estigoy, said power outages have been a challenge for his business in the last two weeks and the Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C.) should give advance notice to clients. 

“When there is no power, it also means we don’t have a business,” he said. “If only E.P.C. can warn us before any power outages occur because as an electronic company the power going off without warning affects our products.

Small businesses do not have assets like generators to serve as backup, which Mr Estigoy said are expensive to buy. 

“Sadly as a small business we do not have generators because they are too expensive.”

Another shop owner from Leififi, Ilitea Bell, said they lose profits every time there is a power outage.

“We are but a small business which needs electricity to function daily. We need it for our fridge, electric oven, and boiler that are needed for cooking food to sell for the school students on weekdays,” he told this newspaper in an interview. “Our family depends on this equipment to earn a living and when the power goes off it means less profits for us. The unpredictable power outage also causes problems with the equipment we have that need power.”

A statement posted recently by the E.P.C. on their Facebook page states that they anticipate power supply returning to normal before the end of this week.

“E.P.C. continues to monitor the operations of its power systems before the State of Emergency is lifted. The Samoa Electric Power Corporation conveys its sincere apologies to all our valued customers, businesses and partners for the power blackout,” says the E.P.C. statement. “The extreme unforeseen incident left the entire island without power and E.P.C. in a state of emergency given the extent of the damage to two of its four diesel generators at Fiaga, which cannot meet demands once the power was restored.”

According to the E.P.C. statement, the two generators at the Fiaga power station were badly damaged and it will take a while to restore full power to the whole island.

“Given the extent of work required for stability of power supply, E.P.C. anticipated that electricity may be interrupted at times, depending on the load demand and capacity available during this crisis.

“E.P.C. is in collaboration with its customers to assist by reducing unnecessary usage of electricity as well as large commercial customers to use their standby generators during peak hours (7am to 10pm) to assist E.P.C. with the load demand.

“E.P.C. engineers are working tirelessly and have made good progress towards the repairs of the faulty generators and power equipment."

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