FIJI’S NEW ELECTRICITY CONSORTIUM CANNOT GUARANTEE CHEAPER ELECTRICITY

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 16, 1999 - PACNEWS/INCL)---Fiji’s new independent electricity producer, a consortium comprised of British, New Zealand and Fijian companies, reports it cannot guarantee that it will be able to provide electricity at a cheaper rate than currently is charged by the Government.

The three partners in the consortium are Fijian Holdings, Ltd., a company that looks after Fiji’s provincial business interests, Rolls Royce Power Limited of Britain and New Zealand’s Mighty River Power, Ltd.

The company will sell electricity to the Government-owned Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA).

Project Development Manager for Mighty River, Abdul Khan, said the group cannot say whether electricity will be cheaper until the consortium concludes a power purchase agreement with FEA.

"Until we finalize the power purchase agreement and the 10 key points of the contract, and which technology we will use -- things like the cost of the site and cost of the machines, among other things -- it is difficult for me to say what the price of electricity will be," he said.

Fiji’s Energy Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, said yesterday the power purchase agreement would allow consumers to benefit through lower electricity charges.

The joint venture company will build a $FJ 40 million ($US 20 million) power generating station in the Suva capital area.

According to Khan, the generators should be operating by July 2001.

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