Council calls for change in Electricity Act to protect consumers

04/04/2008 12:14

It is rather interesting to note that FEA conducted its own investigation to prove that FEA is not negligent to end the matter on recent power surge along QEB in Nasese that caused financial loss to consumers who lost their appliances. In this case the FEA was the judge and the jury. An investigation conducted by their own staff cleared FEA of any negligence. How can a power supply company with monopoly status regulate themselves by law? Where is the role of the State to protect consumers in the Electricity Act (Cap 180). Consumers in Nasese have lost thousands of dollars worth of appliances which they bought over the year’s through their hard earned money. Unfortunately nothing can be done claims FEA. 

FEA gave hope of remedy to the affected consumers by asking them to keep the receipts of the appliances. Section 44 (3) of the  Electricity Act (Cap 180) states that FEA is liable “… the Authority  shall be liable... when such damage or cessation is shown to have resulted from negligence on the part of the Authority, a licensee, their servants or agents, as the case may be, or from faulty construction of the installation.  

This is not the first time an incident like this happened in Fiji where consumers lost their appliances as a result of power surge. Mr. Ikbal Janiff from Lami took legal action against FEA which is still pending in the High Court. Unfortunately the policies were not corrected to give better protection to consumers. The Government then should have amended the Electricity Act to remove the regulatory powers from FEA to State. The Council urges the interim Government to review the Electricity Act to protect the  consumers as well as give them the right to remedy in such instances.