NATION

Electricity Up, Fuel and Internet Down

The new tariffs come into effect on October 1, 2019.
18 Sep 2019 11:11
Electricity Up, Fuel and Internet Down
Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive Joel Abraham (left) and General Manager Operations Senikavika Jiuta making the announcements at the FCCC Headquarters in Suva on September 17, 2019. Photo: Shalveen Chand

Electricity tariffs are to increase from next month, but not as much as 17.27 per cent which Energy Fiji Limited (EFL) had asked for.

Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) announced an increment of 2.74 per cent which equates to less than one cent increase per unit for residential customers.

FCCC also announced a decrease in fuel prices and reduction in access to the Southern Cross Cable Charges which would involve a massive drop in internet charges.

Electricity Tariffs

EFL, in April of this year, had asked for an increase of 17.27 per cent or five cents per unit. FCCC did a nationwide consultation.

FCCC chief executive Joel Abraham said EFL’s past performance over the past 10 years was thoroughly scrutinised.

“This includes capital expenditure, operating expenditure, financial information, including costs of transmission, generation, distribution, retail and future plans before coming to our conclusion,” he said.

“It is of utmost importance that Fijians have access to affordable electricity.”

The 2.74 per cent increase per unit means an increase of 0.91 cents for domestic consumers, institutions, places of worship and public infrastructure, 1.12 cents for commercial customers and 0.81 cents for industrial consumers.

To showcase it’s transparency, FCCC would showcase its tariff methodology.

Mr Abraham also announced that FCCC will conduct reviews every four years or in the case of a massive surge in the cost of production.

He said the New Zealand Commerce Commission provided FCCC assistance in this comprehensive process.

The new tariffs come into effect on October 1, 2019.

Fuel prices decrease

Good news for motor vehicle owners and companies as FCCC has announced a decrease in the price of motor spirit, premix, kerosene and diesel.

Motor spirit has decreased from $2.18 to $2.11 per litre

Premix has decreased from $2.02 to $1.97 per litre

Kerosene has decreased from $1.62 to $1.59 per litre

Diesel has decreased from $1.89 to $1.85 per litre

Mr Abraham said the price changes were because of favourable movements in international prices of petroleum products.

He said the unfavourable movements in the exchange rates were offset by the favourable movement in international freight prices.

Mr Abraham said FCCC was also keeping an eye on the situation in Saudi Arabia where drone strikes eliminated 5.7 million barrels of production and escalating tension between United States and Iran.

The fuel prices come into effect October 1, 2019.

Internet prices to go down

FCCC reviewed charges for the FINTEL cable landing station and other supporting services associated with the provision of broadband services to retail customers in Fiji.

The cost of $256,000 for a 10 gigabyte line was initially reduced to $40,000 for a 10 gig line and now has been reduced to $640 for a 10 gigabyte line per month.

The Southern Cross cable is the optical fibre submarine cable that links Fiji’s international telecommunications systems with the rest of the world and provides the bulk of our internet and data access.

This change means that the cost of service is no longer driven by the capacity of connections, but rather by FINTEL’s capital and operational expenditures. This has resulted in a reduction in FINTEL’s charges for access to the submarine cable.

“Being that data is now an essential and widely utilised commodity which is essential to business and communication and given that FINTEL has a monopolistic position in the market, we undertook a thorough review of the current rates to ensure accessibility of these services for Fijians,” said Mr Abraham

“Unregulated monopolies can prevent Fijians from accessing important services and does not stimulate competition in markets. Fijians need to have affordable access to the internet no matter where they are, whether it be urban, rural or maritime areas.”

He said consumers should experience lower internet prices in the coming month. He added FCCC would be monitoring this.

These changes shall become effective from October 1, 2019, and should result in prices for consumers eventually reduce.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

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