12 Jul 2012

Marshalls power company tells govt to clear debt or lights go out

8:17 am on 12 July 2012

The power utility in the Marshall Islands has warned that unless the government clears its debt, electricity for Majuro and Ebeye islands could be cut off next week.

As of Wednesday, Marshall Islands government entities owed the Marshalls Energy Company 4 million US dollars.

The Marshalls Energy Company General Manager, David Paul, says it some or all of this debt is not cleared immediately, the power utility won't have money to pay for fuel and the lights could go out in Majuro or Ebeye - or both.

The irony of the impending crisis is that there are two million gallons of diesel fuel in power company tanks.

But, Mr Paul says it is fuel provided to the utility on "consignment," meaning it has to pay its fuel supplier as it uses it.

And as of this week, the cash-strapped government utility does not have funds to pay for fuel needed for the two urban centers of Majuro and Ebeye.

David Paul says if significant customers don't pay on time or at all, we cannot perform miracles.