Tu‘i‘onetoa blames high salaries for spike in power bills, while Sovaleni blames tsunami

Former Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa has weighed into a heated debate over a spike in Tonga’s power bills, blaming wages paid to Tonga Power’s management.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku (L) and MP Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa

Tu’i’onetoa’s online comments were met with an equally heated response by Facebook users who said he should have taken care of the problem when he was in office.

He said electricity bills would not fall until wages were controlled.

He said the Board of Directors increased their salaries about three years ago.

The former Prime Minister claimed high wages could be used to bring undue pressure to bear on decision making.

He said highly paid board members were unlikely to want to cut their salaries, or forego open ended contracts. He cited Lord Dalgety as an example.

“Who would like to reduce his salary or retire while they benefit from a job where you have nothing to do while the power consumers faced the economic consequences?” he asked.

“If the petrol prices rise, they will use this to justify the rise in electricity charges.”

The former Prime Minister’s claims came on top of consumer complaints about what have been described as a shocking spike in power bills.

Tonga Power told consumers that power bills for January were being distributed and would reflect  the government’s contribution of $100 for each household in Tongatapu and Vava’u.

“Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and curfew restrictions on the first week of February, our meter readers were unable to perform their meter reading duties for the households in Tongatapu,” Tonga Power said.

“Because of these restrictions your power bill for the month of January was averaged according to your homes’ and businesses’ monthly consumption for the past three months.

“As for your power bill for the month of February which will be distributed this month, it will reflect your total power consumption for February as well as corrections to the averaged amount we proposed in the January power bill.”

The Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku later attributed the spike in the power bills to the January tsunami. He said Tonga Power had investigated the number of “anomalies” and found out it happened on January 15 after the Hungas’ volcanic eruption.

1 COMMENT

  1. Oku hoko pe ae ngaue hala aki ae paanga ia koe mea noa pe ihe ete mau ae mafai oku ngalo ia kita koe ivi oe sii kakai masiva kataki kae fai e lotu ke mooni pea ofa ho tau fonua malo

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