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ASPA reps field questions before House ASPA committee

Wallon Young (middle) and two other ASPA representatives
Faipule focus on fuel costs and the wind farm project

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) CEO, Wallon Young told members of the House ASPA committee during a hearing this week that his office received numerous phone calls from members of the community complaining about the high cost of electricity.

Young, along with two additional representatives from ASPA appeared before the House ASPA committee to discuss the concern raised in the House chamber regarding the increased cost of utilities.

The hearing was chaired by Faipule Alumamalu Filoiali’i Ale, the committee chair.

When given the chance to explain the fuel surcharge ASPA is currently paying, Young said the high cost of fuel around the world costs ASPA $2million more a month.

He said that ASPA used to pay a little bit under $100,000 a day for fuel, but because of the high cost of fuel around the world, ASPA is now paying $150,000 a day for fuel, averaging nearly $5million a month. That is almost a $2million increase a month for fuel for ASPA.

“We hear the people’s crying and everyday people coming to our office complaining about the high cost of electricity,” Young told the committee, adding that it’s not ASPA that’s causing the high cost of electricity, “it’s about the high cost of fuel and we need your support to find a solution to this problem.”

Faipule Vailiuama Steve Leasiolagi told Young that he’s very concerned with the high cost of utilities for the community. He told the ASPA representatives that if they look at recent years when fuel costs were high, ASPA recorded a $2million surplus in 2020. However, when the cost of electricity was low, ASPA reflect about $600,000 profit.

According to Vailiuama, with the cost of utilities going up again, he believes ASPA is going to make a lot of profit from the high prices and that’s his main concern.

“I don’t believe what you have just explained to us,” Vailiuama told Young.

“With the high cost of electricity and our people are paying a lot of money for their electricity bills, ASPA is going to have a lot of unnecessary money. You need to find a way to bring the cost of electricity down because our people are suffering,” Vailiuama said.

Vailiuama said he’s very concerned because the cost of electricity continues to climb and people are suffering. Low income families cannot afford the price, however they don’t have a choice but to pay the price because they need electricity everyday.

Young thanked Vailiuama for his observation, however, he stated that the reason why ASPA laid off some of its employees in years back was because ASPA was unable to pay them. He said every time ASPA receives a small amount of surplus, they invest in equipment or to build new buildings.

Pertaining to federal grants, Young said the grants are not part of the ASPA revenue because grants go straight to build projects that are already in place — ASPA has no control over what they are spent on.

Faipule Vailoata E. Amituana’i said that despite the fact people are complaining about the high cost of electricity, people must understand that American Samoa is not the only place in the world that is affected by the high cost of fuel.

He said the territory is just an isolated area in the Pacific and we must pay the supplier in order for us to get the electricity.

“To me, ASPA is doing the best it can and I thank you for supplying the light for our people everyday,” Vailoata said.


Faipule Ape Mike Asifoa raised the issue about the ASPA wind tower project and how far the project is from becoming finalized.

Young said there’s a whole lot of study that needs to be done and it’s a two years study project. He explained that the only permit they received from ASG is the permit for a study.

He said four scientists from the United States will arrive in the territory this Thursday night (tonight), and they will be a part of the team that is going to conduct the study for the project.

Young said this is a sensitive issue for some people but for their side, they want to do everything according to the law and ASPA is very transparent with the project.

He further stated that there are a lot of untrue accusations against ASPA regarding this project.

He urged members of the community and families who have their land involved in this project to come to their office to discuss the matter and share their opinions.

Faipule Vesiai Poyer Samuel urged Young to look at the sun energy project, which can help bring down the high cost of electricity for the community.

He said this is a very hard time for our people and ASPA must do something to help the community.


Last week, Faipule Vailiuama requested the House ASPA committee to set a hearing to discuss the continuous increase in utility costs that has been going on for many months now.

Vailiuama told faipule during this week’s House session that the increase in utility costs is not something government leaders should take it lightly. He is witnessing an increase between 30- 40% for electricity and the Fono needs to do something to stop ASPA from increasing the cost of electricity for our people.