Lights still out in Magiagi
Seven weeks after Cyclone Evan destroyed Magiagi through heavy flooding – killing two of its residents - electricity remains a wish for most of its residents.
While the electricity has been restored to most areas of the country, many Magiagi residents, who live about five minutes from Apia, continue to remain in darkness.
But Magiagi’s problems are not directly the result of Cyclone Evan.
During an interview with the village mayor, Tuiono Uini Letoafa Keni, he told the Samoa Observer the village council has put a stop to the installation of cash power metres.
The metres allow users to pay for electricity before they use it.
Asked why, Tuiono said the Village Council feels that the Government is using Cyclone Evan as an excuse to install cash power metres throughout the village, even though the “issue between us and the government remains unresolved.”
The “issue” in question is Magiagi’s long-standing objection to the installation of cash power metres.
For years, Magiagi has maintained that they shouldn't have to pay for electricity since the government is using “our natural resources” to benefit others.
The dispute came to a head last year, first through a roadblock and second when the Police were called to accompany Electric Power Corporation (EPC) officers in an attempt to install the metres in the village.
For a while, the “issue” disappeared from the headlines.
But Tuiono said that after Cyclone Evan, Magiaginoticed that EPC officers were starting to install cash power metres. So he has ordered the to stop.
“I stopped everything,” he said. “Our village is still not happy with the Prime Minister and his governments’ proposal regarding arrangements with our electricity.”
Tuiono declined to reveal what the “proposal” from government was.