5 Aug 2008

Solomons to use coin-operated power meters because of debt woes

1:47 pm on 5 August 2008

The chairman of the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority, Walton Naezon, says it will eventually put all residents in Honiara on coin-operated meters.

Hundreds of households have had their power cut off since late last month as the financially struggling utility cracks down on bad debtors.

Mr Naezon says some people have never paid for their electricity use.

Government agencies throughout the country are also being cut, including a hospital on Malaita, which Mr Naezon says he has since ordered to be reconnected.

He says a number of provincial governments and state-owned enterprises are at fault and he will present a paper to Cabinet this week to ask it to help them out.

"In the past the management is a bit weak in the Board and they could not collect legal established revenue of the Authority. So what we are doing now is we are disconnecting those who did not pay and those who did not pay is not only for 2008, [but] that goes back some ten or 15 years. So we are cleaning up SIEA accounts at the moment."

Walton Naezon