15 Jun 2009

American Samoa's government urged to pay outstanding power bills

7:06 am on 15 June 2009

The American Samoa Government has not paid its utility bills since March and now has a debt of about US$3 million with the American Samoa Power Authority.

The Authority's Chief Executive Officer, Michael Keyser said the Government's inability to pay is slowly degrading the utility and several upgrades for water and electricity services have been delayed because there's no cash coming in.

Giving an example, he said the Vaipito microfiltration plants needed replacement parts but they can't buy the spares due to inadequate cash flow.

Repairs are also overdue on two Deutz generators

Mr Keyser said if the government does not pay its bills it is only a matter of time before American Samoa experiences power problems like in Saipan which has suffered rolling power blackouts.

Treasurer Magalei had said in March that the government was committed to paying a quarter of a million dollars on a monthly basis toward its power debt.

However, ASG has not made any payments in April and May.