FEA, Council outreach for northern consumers

09/11/2009 12:20

An engagement of convenience had been embarked by the Consumer council and a major service provider in our country, FEA.

The Council, as a watchdog, relishes the opportunity to work with organisations like FEA and the engagement had provided a gateway for the council to reach out to consumers and spread the word on the latest issues that affected consumers daily.

The Council and FEA went on a road show conducting joint-community education in the western division, focusing on rural communities that were also FEA consumers. Together, FEA and the Council visited 17 rural communities from Sigatoka to Rakiraki. Each community education visit lasted about 2 hours and these sessions included question and answer sessions which also evaluated the understanding of the participants.

The joint pilot project had proved such a success in the west that the two organisations went on another trip, taking consumer issues further to the north. They visited eight communities in the greater Labasa, Seaqaqa and Savusavu area, with two (2) secondary school visits and 1 mobile advisory unit set up from November 17th – 22nd, 2009. Consumer Council’s Regional Coordinator – Ms Dianne Reddy from Lautoka is in Labasa to raise awareness on key issues.

FEA sessions educated participants on how to read their FEA meters and electricity bill, as well as reduce their monthly electricity consumption through energy-saving house-hold tips and electrical safety issues.

The Council sessions entailed educating participants on their consumer rights and responsibilities, on consumer issues like hire-purchase, lay-by, money lending, as well as information on goods under price control, consumer protection agencies, Small Claims Tribunal, residential tenancy, and other consumer issues.

Consumer Council as an advocate for consumers welcome any such initiatives for Joint campaigns with service providers and it looks forward for more projects such as this in the future.