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EPC calls for road reserves on customary lands

The lack of access to road reserves to enable Electric Power Corporation employees to do their work is becoming a hurdle for the State-owned utility company.

E.P.C. General Manager, Faumui Tauiliili Iese Toimoana, told the Samoa Observer that access to road reserves is a challenge for his workers.

He said road reserves are used by the E.P.C. for power poles – which need to be positioned so they don’t become an inconvenience to other utility providers, property owners and the public – while being beneficial to everyone in terms of electricity supply.

He said only public areas have road reserves in Samoa, when he was asked if there are impediments to rolling out electricity to families.

“The Government had built road reserves to be used by E.P.C., communication teams and the Samoa Water Society,” he said.

“The challenge with us is E.P.C. always needs road reserves and access at any area including customary lands because without these road reserves, we can’t deliver (electric) poles and other things for the electricity.

“The thing with us when it comes to customary lands is we try to negotiate with families every time we roll out to fix electric poles or anything regarding electricity in customary lands.”

Some people are impatient, according to Faumui, who is of the view that they don’t understand the role of the corporation hence their opposition. 

“It’s because some families are not very patient and especially, they do not understand how we do our work so they tend to criticise our work because it’s on their lands sometimes.

“So we really need land takings in areas that are not public areas for works like those of the Government.”

The issue of road reserves in non-public areas is not a new challenge for the corporation as its former head Tologata Tile Tuimalealiifano has also raised similar concerns previously.

Tologata, who resigned last month to begin preparations to run for the 2021 General Election, has vowed to address the issue if he gets elected to Parliament.

“One of the challenges that still cannot be fixed in my years at the corporation is that there aren’t enough road reserves to cater for the work of E.P.C.”

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