8 Oct 2003

Fiji spends millions to ensure power supply during drought

4:26 pm on 8 October 2003

The Fiji Electricity Authority says it's doing everything it can to ensure a continuing power supply over the next three months as a severe drought grips the country.

Fiji relies on the Monasavu hydroelectric station to provide about 80 percent of the electricity to the main island, Viti Levu but the water level in the dam is so low that there's only an estimated two weeks supply left.

The authority's chairman, Joe Mar, says they're spending 4.3 million U.S. dollars to lease imported generators and buy the diesel to run them.

He says it's coincidental that cabinet allocated the money as the Rugby World Cup is about to begin.

"Clearly Fiji's extremely mad about their rugby, so I think you will have a revolt in the country and my house will be inundated if in fact we don't have enough power to have the world cup screened. However flippant comments aside, let me just say this, FEA will do everything and I mean everything in its power possible to ensure that there is no power cuts, not just because of the world cup, the world cup is coincidental."

The generators are expected to arrive in the next two and a half weeks so Mr Mar says there's an aggressive public relations campaign in place to persuade people to conserve water to ensure there's not a gap between supplies.