5 Sep 2006

Power system needs to be completely replaced on Niue

7:50 pm on 5 September 2006

The head of the Niue Power Corporation says the country's entire power system needs to be replaced.

The corporation's general manager, Speedo Hetutu, was speaking after the latest power outage, which lasted four days and affected half the island, including Alofi and seven villages.

He says they had to bring in experts to sort the problem out because they did not have the equipment to locate a fault on a feeder cable.

Mr Hetutu says the cabling is 30 years old and needs replacing.

The corporation put a five-stage plan to the government in 2004 on the critical elements which needed upgrading but Mr Hetutu says the island's power infrastructure actually needs to be wholly replaced.

"The power system here in Niue needs, especially the cables, needs to have a replacement project to be executed ASAP and for the power station to be rebuilt as soon as possible, as well."

Mr Hetutu says this year's budget does not contain funds for the entire system to be replaced as that would cost millions of dollars but he believes there might be money to upgrade the switches.