1 Nov 2004

Power price forecast to soar in Tonga

9:11 pm on 1 November 2004

A Tongan MP, Akilisi Pohiva, says the cost of power in the Kingdom could go up by 25 percent this month.

Mr Pohiva says Crown Prince Tupouto'a, who controls the power provider Shoreline, has suggested the cost of electricity be increased to around 29 US cents per kilowatt unit.

Mr Pohiva says the planned increase will hurt businesses as well as 80 percent of the households in the kingdom which use Shoreline.

He says the suggested increase will almost definitely be passed by a government committee that oversees such price rises, and shows there needs to be competition in the power industry.

"The problem is because of the involvement of the Crown Prince in that particular business, the members of the committee may not feel independent to make a decision, simply because of the fact it comes straight from the Crown Prince. They may feel intimidated and approve the suggestion that came from the Crown Prince."

MP Akilisi Pohiva.