16 Mar 2009

Fiji Electricity Authority says new dam won't guarantee cheaper power

6:44 am on 16 March 2009

The Fiji Electricity Authority says a new hydro dam will not necessarily mean consumers will pay less for power.

The interim minister for Public Utilities says once the Nadarivatu dam is online, hydro schemes will supply most of the country's electricity.

The authority says at present diesel prices, the dam is expected to save about 12 million US dollars for each year of operation.

But its chief executive, Hasmukh Patel, says it's a costly project.

"One has to understand that in order to build such a project it's going to cost the Fiji Electricity Authority a huge amount of money. I mean the project itself is costing us about 150 million US. Now obviously we have to factor that into our loan prepayments as well so it's very difficult for me at this stage to say that as soon as Nadarivatu comes online the price of electricity will come down"

Hasmukh Patel says when the dam's added to Fiji's other renewable energy schemes, the aim is for renewable energy to meet 80 percent of the country's electricity needs.