ASPA board cancels rate hike scheduled for Oct
The current board of the American Samoa Power Authority recently approved the cancellation of the new rate hike for water, waste water and solid waste that was to take effect in October this year.
The rate hike was phase four of the increases which had been approved by the previous board, but ASPA executive director Utu Abe Male said the current board “has resolved to cancel that rate increase” which was expected to collect $644,000.
“The cancellation is possible because ASPA is making efficiency improvements— for example, outsourcing solid waste collection— and ASG Treasury is reducing the debt owed by ASG to ASPA from previous years,” Utu said yesterday responding to Samoa News inquiries.
The cancellation of the rates was briefly mentioned by ASPA board-nominee Daniel King during his Senate committee confirmation hearing on Monday. King’s comments were made as part of his closing remarks at the end of the hearing, when he responded to the Senate's call for ASPA to reduce utility rates in order to help local residents.
Utu said there is a law in place that authorizes a subsidy of $650,000 from ASG Treasury to ASPA for the operation of the Waste Water Division, but this subsidy has not been forthcoming since the mid-1990s.
(The previous ASPA board raised this same issue over the years when they appeared before the Fono.)
“However, we still plan on conducting a cost of services study for the aforementioned services” and ASPA has applied to the EPA to help pay for this study, he said.
Utu said ASPA is “most pleased with the turn of events” and thanked ASPA customers for their patience “as we try to improve service on less.”