EFL move to increase tariffs is bizarre: FHTA

September 22, 2023 10:20 am

[File Photo]

The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association is not happy with the proposed tariff increase by Energy Fiji Limited.

The Association says tourism operators are concerned with the recent pursuit of a tariff review with the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission.

It says it is deeply dismayed by the EFL’s justification to increase tariffs.

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FHTA says it firmly believes that EFL’s approach to renewable energy sources, in the context of global climate change efforts, should be seen as an opportunity for innovation rather than as a threat to their commercial gains.

This is given the $58 million profit it recently announced for 2022, despite Fijian families and businesses experiencing continuing power outages, disruptions, and ongoing difficulties accessing power for rural households and commercial investments.

The Association further says that while EFL has pointed to genuine challenges such as rising fuel costs and the necessity to develop hydro projects, FHTA underscores the paramount importance of sustainable practices and the need to either maintain or lower business costs, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expected devastating impacts of climate change being seen more often around the world.

It claims that the sole power provider for the nation appears unable or unwilling to embrace the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

According to FHTA Chief Executive Fantasha Lockington, the move is completely at odds with the Fijian Government’s Cabinet-approved National Energy Policy 2023–2030, which cites a “commitment to providing access to affordable, reliable, secure, and sustainable energy services to all Fijians through a safe and efficient transition of Fiji’s energy systems, transport, and infrastructure from its existing reliance on imported fossil fuels to low-carbon and renewable-energy-based technologies”.

She says the association is absolutely appalled by EFL’s reasoning for a tariff increase, which includes their perception that renewable energy alternatives might drive up costs for a reduced customer base that may only be low-income earners, instead of working with their customers to embrace where the entire world is going except for them.

She adds that this is simply ignoring what the future and climate change demand we do now.

The Chief Executive says the reasoning behind the pursuit of a tariff increase is bizarre and deeply flawed.

Lockington says the association will be making a formal submission on the issue.

Meanwhile, questions have been sent to EFL.