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Electricity bills worry customers

Felix Chaudhary
Monday, June 19, 2017

A NUMBER of homeowners have raised concerns about the significant increase in their electricity bills over the past few months.

Earlier this year, when Facebook users vented about the increase on social media sites, the Fiji Electricity Authority said in response to queries by The Fiji Times that "summer" was upon us and consumers were most likely using more often appliances like fans and air-conditioning.

However, when this explanation was offered by this newspaper to consumers such as Paula Benn who lives with her teenage son in Lautoka, she was adamant nothing had changed with the way appliances were used in their home.

She said there was no increased use of appliances and she was a "mindful" user.

During a survey of the Western Division cane belt area over the past three weeks, farmers also raised the issue of the unexplainable spike in electricity bills.

In some cases the increases were more than 100 per cent.

Tota Ram, who lives with his wife in a two-bedroom home beside the Queens Rd at Cuvu, Sigatoka said the only electrical appliance they owned was a fridge. He said they used lights only when necessary because they couldn't afford to be "wasteful".

"That's why I can't understand why my bill went from $24 to $58," the 70-year-old said.

"We don't have any extra appliance for the bill to go up by that much. I find it really frustrating."

When quizzed about the rise, the Fiji Electricity Authority said there was no increase in tariffs.

General manager Customer Services Annabel Ducia said the rise could be attributed to increased usage and also the time when appliances were used.

"FEA has not increased any tariff," she said .

"This (bill increase) depends on the usage of appliances and the time of usage.

"If it is post pay, we read monthly a prepay meter and we can check the usage from the office."

Ms Ducia asked for account numbers so that the FEA could look into the claims being made by the canegrowers.

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