I must thank 'Inoke Fotu Huakau for his letter of 2 May about this planned march. As you have put it Editor, this is a Shoreline protest march. From what I have gathered, this is largely because the power tariff is unjustifiably too high and part of this is because the Shoreline Executives are getting hefty remuneration packages.
I have stated in an earlier letter that certain things can only be done in the Kingdom and I believe mobilizing people to participate in a laka laulaunoa is one of these.
The justifications so far given about moving back the power generation from Shoreline to the TEPB is far from being very clear. Let us put aside how the transfer was done, (noting that there is a submission in the court on this), and perhaps focus on a few vital questions and answers:
Q. Has the electricity supply become cheaper at Shoreline?
A. This question has never been fully answered. It should involve analysis of the tariffs now and then as compared to the fuel prices. Comparisons of the costs structures, subsidies, and investments have never been done. We have to compare apples with apples.
Q. Has the service delivery been better at Shoreline?
A. Transitions will always be accompanied with disruptions, therefore complaints at the beginning are to be expected. What are the benchmarks for satisfactory service delivery and what is the comparison between the two?
Q. Is the electricity supply safer, more reliable and more environmentally friendly at Shoreline?
A. From what I gathered two Shoreline linesmen have died on the job recently. What is the record at TEPB? Is there a comparison on the investments/reserve funds put aside to ensure more generation capacity in the future to meet the increasing demand? Has anyone compared the waste oil disposal, the cooling water effects on Fanga'uta and the emissions?
Q. Is Shoreline in line with the socio-economy policies of government?
A. HM government believes that the private sector is the driver of the economy. Have those people laid off at TEPB improved or increased the number of local electrical contractors, increased the workforce elsewhere of did they add to the number of people without jobs? Has the transfer to Shoreline improved the macro economy and its efficiency?
Don't the leaders of the planned laka laulaunoa think that the people deserve to know this information? They should provide people with a more honest and thorough information about the justifications on why power generation should revert back to TEPB. Matters regarding the corrupt practices by the two Indian princes, South Pac, etc should be reported to the Police, Attorney General and dealt with separately from the Shoreline issue.
The salaries of the Shoreline Executives have been brought up on many occasions. Shoreline is currently selling around 33 GWh p.a. It has been stated that Sefo's salary is $300,000 p.a. Now if we employ monkeys at say $50,000 p.a, the impacts of this $250,000 saving on a unit of electricity is insignificant. Multiply this by 6 if there are 6 executives and the result will not change. Therefore to relate the increase in the power tariff to the hefty packages of Shoreline executives is only good for political bla bla bla. Perhaps Sefo's claim that these are all meheka and lotokovi is true.
Rather than the laka laulaunoa, the solution is right in the hands of the PRs. A draft bill has been submitted to the House in regards to the new role of TEPB as a regulator rather than a power generator. They should put their energy into this bill to ensure the following:
- A power supply which is reliable, cost effective and environmentally friendly
- That the power tariff is fixed according to an agreed formula which is open and transparent.
- The technical, financial and environmental standards are set to regulate the industry with.
This is essentially what should have been in place before the transfer to Shoreline. Instead the cart was put in front of the horse.
A financial standard like 10% on the ROI would ensure Shoreline or any private sector generator can profitably meet future growing demand according to set technical and environmental standards. How much it will pay its staff is none of your or my business.
So now the march will be on the 26th on the opening day of parliament. Good try! But this issue is different from the media freedom march so the support will be different. Tuku a e 'ai me'a noa...ia kau fakafofonga!
But having said all this, Mr Editor I believe that the involvement of HRH in Shoreline is still and will continue to be morally wrong. And neither do I support the corrupt practices of the two Indian princes.
Sailosi Finau, Auckland, NZ