THE FEA has warned it is in "panic mode" as it faces the prospect of going through another month without adequate rainfall to replenish the Monasavu Dam.
And it is calling on people in Fiji to save power as it waits for rain in the Monasavu catchment area.
The authority is hoping to receive the long-term average rainfall of 343mm for the month of October but with half the month gone by, only 37mm of rain has fallen at Monasavu.
The dam level as of yesterday was 730.48 metres above sea level, only 15.48 metres above the safe operating level of 715m and dropping at a rate of 0.12m to 0.15m every day.
If the dry spell continues for the rest of October and into November and December, the dam could reach its critical level by then or even earlier.
If this worst-case scenario is realised, the authority said it would have to spend between $50million and $55million to rent generators from overseas to satisfy the power demand on Viti Levu.
FEA CEO Hasmukh Patel said this decision would be made sometime in November.
The FEA has only had to hire generators once in the past, in 2003 for a similar situation when the dam level dropped.
Back then it cost $21m for generators to supply an extra 20-25MW but because of increased demand, it could end up spending more than double the amount.
"I would say yes we are in panic mode because for seven out of the nine months of 2013 we have received below average rainfall," Mr Patel said.
"What we are saying is if the dry season extends further into November and December and the rest of October then we could be heading for some trouble.
"To satisfy demand we'll have to bring in 55MW of hired sets.
"To bring them in and run them for three months, we expect an expenditure of around $50-$55million."
He explained the decision to rent the generators was one to be considered at length because of the two-month period for the generators to be delivered and made operational, the money involved and the penalties they would have to pay to pull out of the deal if rain started to fall in Monasavu.
"Therefore the authority requests its valued customers to use energy wisely for their daily needs without wastage as this will assist in conserving water and reducing the fuel cost.
"I don't think that we can afford any luxury at this time of the year especially in this situation," Mr Patel concluded.
Currently 40 per cent of electricity to Fiji is provided by the Monasavu and Nadarivatu hydroelectric schemes.
55 per cent is being provided by fossil fuels and a further 5 per cent is being provided by independent power producer FSC.
FEA spends $0.5million a day in fuel costs and has already incurred financial losses in September and expects the same in October because of the high fuel bill.