Rainfall statistics contradict FEA boss

09/10/2008 12:03

The rainfall statistics over a five year period from 2004 to 2008 clearly indicates that FEA is trying to create urgency and uneasiness amongst Fiji consumers by announcing a possible power crisis. FEA CEO is suggesting power sharing as the solution to the looming crisis caused by high diesel power generation and low water levels at the Monasavu Dam. The Council simply fails to understand the low water level at the Monasavu dam and therefore FEA’s low percentage of energy generation from hydro; especially given that the Monasavu rainfall statistics for 2004 was the lowest recorded rainfall ever in the past 24 years. Yet, FEA was able to produce 57% of energy from Hydro. How was FEA able to achieve a high energy production from hydro when the rainfall figure at the Dam was the lowest ever? Why isn’t FEA able to achieve the same result now with a much better rainfall statistic?

Similarly, if one compares rainfall figure over the dry periods between 2008 and 2005, 2008 statistics is not indicating badly with three months left in the year. In 2005, FEA generated 49.5% energy from hydro. What amuses the Council is that FEA is creating energy uncertainty by using September rainfall figure as its benchmark for poor rainfall received at the Monasavu Dam.

Further, FEA has confirmed the completion of some of its major renewable energy projects that namely the Wainakasou Hydro Station – 6.6MW, Nagado Hydro Station – 2.8MW, Butoni Wind Farm – 10MW, Tropik Drasa IPP – 9.3MW. These projects are understood to compensate for Fiji’s reliance on diesel-generated energy. Hence, if Monasavu Dam is said to be performing poorly, these other projects are up and running and should ensure that a higher percentage of energy is produced from renewable sources than from diesel usage.

Fiji consumers cannot be fooled with the same old trick used by FEA to blame nature for its negligence. In 2007, FEA sought fuel surcharge increase by using the same excuse of poor rainfall in Monasavu and high cost of energy production through diesel. Yet FEA Annual Report for 2007 states In 2007 FEA made an operating profit before tax of $14.7 million, despite the high cost of diesel fuel for the year of $60 million. Revenue from fuel surcharge was $15.1 million and contributed to the financial profit of FEA. The same report highlights that in 2007 FEA generated 64.8% of its energy from hydro and 35.2% of the energy came from diesel. The consumers are fed up of listening to the same old excuse to seek an increase in rates – be it fuel surcharge or tariff.  

The table below shows the percentage of energy generated from hydro. If 2008 is indicative of a poor rainfall in the absence of an “El Nino” that was experienced in 2004 is eccentric.  FEA should look at the efficiency of the dam and sustainable use of water. The Council hopes it’s not a ploy to put pressure on the Government to re-implement the Commerce Commission approved surcharge in totality and to restore full Duty Concession on ALL thermal generating fuels i.e. IDO and HFO.

YEAR

RAINFALL

% OF HYDRO GENERATION

2004

3425MM

57%

2005

4465mm

49.5%

2006

4730mm

45%

2007

5289mm

64.8%

2008 till Oct

4250.6mm

 

Put simply consumers cannot continue to subsidise FEA.