The Solomon Islands Electricity Authority, SIEA, owes SBD$18-million dollars to its fuel suppliers.Minister for Mines and Energy, Edward Huni'ehu, last week directed an emergency meeting with the SIEA Board and Management to discuss the matter. Mr. Huni'ehu said that the Board and Management of the statutory body have failed to effectively manage SIEA resulting in the current power crises.
He said from now on SIEA Management will be accountable to the SIEA Board, while the Board is accountable to the Mines and Energy Minister. Amongst other management control measures, the Minister said the SIEA management must collect outstanding debts owed to the Authority and to take action against those who fail to pay up.
SIEA has begun disconnecting customers, including government offices, who refuse to pay their power bills. "There has been a historical problem of government ministries and statuary bodies not paying up their bills...its good that SIEA is putting its foot down," stated an officer at the SIEA. SIEA says the refusal of some customers to pay power bills costs them nearly three million dollars US per month.