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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Power Rationing by the Fiji Electricity Authority

The Chief Executive Officer, Fiji Electricity Authority, has recently refuted claims that the power authority is rationing electricity in Fiji.

In recent years, the Authority has constantly informed consumers of the reducing water levels at its Monasavu Dam, the need to import and run diesel generated engines to supplement power needs and the increasing cost of world fuel and therefore the need for a fuel surcharge to be paid by each consumer.

Over recent years, those of us living and working outside the Central Business District have to go through at least one or two days without power each month, during most of the day on those days, when the Authority is supposedly doing maintenance and upgrades in our various locations.

From my own memory, in the 1970s and 1980s and even into the 1990s, I cannot recall such shutdowns being done for maintenance and upgrades.

In itself, those shutdowns are to me, a form of power rationing. What else can they be?

One cannot reconcile the fact that in this day and age of progressive development in machines and systems, the Authority still has to introduce days without power to do maintenance and upgrades.

What are the solutions? Competition? Shall we open up the market to other providers?

One simple solution is for the Authority to simply say that it cannot provide the service and to allow consumers to supplement their own needs with other forms of power e.g. solar and wind.
These other forms of power are provided by God for free so why don't we use them?

Consumers with excess power for their own use can sell their surplus back into the national grid that can be made available to others who will need them.

Some countries e.g. one Scandinavian country has a successful scheme whereby individual households sell power surplus to their needs back into the national grid for use by others that might need them. This has made the country one of the only ones in the area being self sufficient in terms of electricity and power.

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