Regulator defends “$691,500” bill
The Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C) has to pay the Office of the Regulator more than half a million tala to regulate license fees for the electricity sector.
The Regulator charges similar fees to regulate license fees for the telecommunication and broadcasting sectors.
According to documents obtained by the Samoa Observer, the Office of the Regulator’s fee for the E.P.C this year alone is $691,500.
The figure was disclosed during a discussion with members of the business community during a recent presentation by the E.P.C.
Contacted for a comment, the E.P.C’s General Manager, Tologatā Tile Tuimaleali’ifano, declined to comment.
The Regulator, Lefaoali'i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti, would not deny or confirm the amount.
But she explained that her Office is merely following the fee structure under the law.
“Pursuant to the Electricity Act 2010(“the Act”), Section 54 allows for the Head of State to set Regulations for licence fees under the Electricity Sector,” she wrote in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
“The Electricity Fees Regulations 2017 was signed by the Head of State on 20th March 2017.
“This regulation sets out the fees charged by the Office of the Regulator as per the Act. Same applications of license fees are applied to other Regulated Services like Telecommunications and Broadcasting as per requirements of their respective Acts.”
In relation to E.P.C, Lefaoali’i said under the Regulations, they charge them an annual fee of 0.5per cent based on their gross revenue from electricity sales.
“These fees have been consulted with the Independent Power Producers (I.P.P.) as well as E.P.C as required before the Regulations came into force,” the Regulator explained.
“We cannot confirm the amount as mentioned because we have not yet received all the necessary financial information already requested that is needed from E.P.C to calculate the relevant fees.
“The purpose of these fees is to cover operations of my Office in including carrying out Tariff Review, Public Consultations, monitoring and enforcement, Research and Development and regulating the Electricity Sector.
“My office can only charge fees that are set out in the Regulations, we cannot over charge or undercharge fees that contradict what has been set out by law.”