22 Jan 2013

American Samoa hopes to create new body to regulate public utility rates

4:23 pm on 22 January 2013

The American Samoa administration is drafting legislation it hopes will lead to the establishment of a body to regulate and set rates for public utilities.

If approved, the Public Utilities Commission would cover rates for the American Samoa Power Authority, the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority, Blue Sky and other phone companies and the territory's cable company.

The Executive Director of the Power Authority, Utu Abe Malae, worked under a Public Utilities Commission at his last job at the Northern Marianas power company.

He is emphatic that American Samoa needs such a Commission.

"Because no matter how good your intentions are, you can be an angel, if you're the only show in town, your natural monopoly like ASPA, you don't even know that your behaviour is not, is actually not good for the consumers. What you've done or your decisions, there's always the tendency to favour whatever it is that you want done for the company."

Utu Abe Malae says in the CNMI members of the Commission served without pay.