NEW CALEDONIA ELECTRICITY CONSUMERS GET SHOCK

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NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (May 16 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---Electricity consumers in New Caledonia received a shock Wednesday when the territorial supplier, Enercal, announced a 6.4 percent power bill increase effective June 1, RFO reported.

Enercal said the decision was made earlier this week by the Board of Directors, due to "worldwide trends in fuel prices and the U.S. dollar."

The company added that the increase was planned as early as last year, but it wanted to further monitor the global economic situation in order to find whether the trends were just short-term.

A spokesman said now that the global increases are confirmed; Enercal needed to apply the increase to its own prices.

The company said the real increases in its own production costs (mostly from its fuel-operated generating stations) should have resulted in a 12 percent power bill increase rather than 6.4 percent.

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