Public question smart meters' benefits
Tupou Tagaloa, 38, Falelauniu
There is a big difference with what we used to have before. Right from the beginning when we just had this meter, they just changed it without us understanding the process. They didn’t even give us a choice whether we want it or not. After they changed it we are now used to pay later and it seems to me like the EPC have their own fundraising behind this meters. What we use to have is when your units finished, your power goes off and you just top up straight away and the power goes on again. But now if your IOU is $30 and you only have $20 in your pocket, it’s hard and when you top up your meter unit, it takes almost 3 hours for you to wait and you waste your cellphone credits trying to call them to put the power on.
Eseta Maualaivao, 49, Malie
Well I guess it’s better, depending on how its used at home and by the family, and could be just a matter of getting used to it. The smart meter is okay, although I heard people who have this meter faced a lot of problems. But for businesses that require lot of electricity use, it won’t work. We prefer the billing system where we use and post payments. But for the IOU thing, I don’t like it, just like our phones we forgot sometimes we have IOU so I prefer cash power and the billing system.
Vesi Malala, 31, Faleasiu
I don’t have a big understanding about the smart meter but you never know unless you try it. I prefer the cheapest one compare to people with low level income earn. If the smart meter is cheap, I’m ok with it, if not then the cash power is better for us. I used cash power for more than 5years but affordable is what we need the most.
Tepa Toma, 43, Salepoua’e Saleimoa
I believe it is a very good thing because we don’t have money all the time. So the IOU helps us when we need electricity but we have no money. There are time we don’t have enough to share for our family crisis and church things but IOU of the EPC helps us getting free electricity so that we can pay later when we have enough in our pocket. That’s how we live in Samoa, we borrow and pay later, so I’m ok with the smart meter program.
Mo’oui Salatielu Samuelu, 69, Vaitele-Fou
We rejected the program in the first place when we found out some problems with the meters. A lot of us living in Vaitele Fou witness these problems. For example, when we enter $30 power, it goes very quickly, just for a couple of days and then finish. But if you top up $30 in the old cash power meter, you can use that for almost the whole month so I don’t support this new meter.
Luisa Sauaga, 53, Tufuiopa
I’m not a big fan of IOU (use now pay later) sometimes it’s hard to chase people to pay what they owe. Looking back to the old billing system, before the cash power arrived, we used to have arrears that we need to pay out and took us lot of time to complete our payments. And when the cash power arrived, it was a relief because it gave us some options on how to use it wisely, compared to what we put in our meters. So if we make another change, it will cost us more money again, owe money and lead us to arrears again but we don’t want that anymore.