13 Mar 2003

Solomon Islands Electricity Authority to carry out its threat to cut power supplies

11:37 am on 13 March 2003

The Solomon Islands Electricity Authority's general manager Mike Nation says its funding problems can no longer be neglected, and it will go ahead with widespread cuts to power supplies today.

The Authority announced earlier this week it would cut the electricity feed to government departments and statutory authorities because collectively they owe it around two million US dollars. .

Mike Nation says the Water Authority alone owes nearly half that debt.

He says since the ultimatum the Government has paid enough to cover fuel costs for about three days, but the Authority needs much more.

Mr Nation says the cuts will go ahead because the Government needs to make paying its electricity bills a priority.

"Obviously we need money to buy fuel. The other side of the coin is that we don't carry out maintenance. It's a recipe of disaster because we only have four out of 11 machines operating at this moment in time and without maintenance one by one by one those remaining four will fail so it is a very serious situation"

Mike Nation, who says it is possible the Government will force the Authority to reconnect services under the Essential Services Act, but he says they still want to make the point.