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Governor says cost of butane gas in territory much lower due to competition

The new Satala Power Plant, which is undergoing pre commissioning, can be converted to run on Liquefied Natural Gas, according to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who also says that the cost of butane gas in American Samoa has decreased “dramatically” due to competition.

Lolo made the comments in his official written State of the Territory Address, through his 83-page Comprehensive Report submitted last week to lawmakers and others. The report summarized a wide range of accomplishments by the Lolo and Lemanu Administration in the last four years.

Under the issue, “Power Plant & Butane Gas” the governor said the new 26-mega watt   Satala Power Plant has been designed to meet emission standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency as well as maintaining the necessary capacity to accommodate the Tafuna Power Plant in case of a power failure.

He said the new power plant is not only cost-efficient and environmentally friendly by burning clean diesel fuel, but “it can also be converted to run on Liquefied Natural Gas.”

ASPA began last month pre-commissioning the power plant and ASPA managing director Paul Young says the facility is expected to be commission in March this year.

At the start of 2017, ASPA says that it has connected Feeder 4 to the new Satala Power plant that is now energized for testing and commissioning of equipment. Additionally, a significant amount of work remains before the new plant generates power but this is an important milestone. Live testing of the electrical protection systems can now commence to ensure complete operability before starting the generators for the first time.

Regarding the issue of butane gas, the governor said that in the last three years, the cost has “dropped dramatically from the high of $36 to $24” adding that this 33% decline in butane costs is mainly due to the entry of two new suppliers in American Samoa.

According to the governor, the butane industry that was once a monopoly now has healthy competition among three suppliers. The governor didn’t identify the suppliers by name.

Lolo did say that “healthy competition not only has created lower prices and cost savings for local people, but the butane supply and fuel burning are now far more efficient and cleaner.”


The governor also reiterated what he said during the 2016 campaign season that the electricity costs have dropped since the Administration took office in 2013, when the cost of one kilowatt averaged around 45 cents.

“Together with the fervent support” of the ASPA board of directors and management, the Administration remains highly committed in reducing electricity cost even further, Lolo said in his official address.

In a collaborative effort, he said the administration was able to reduce the cost of one kilowatt per hour to 25 cents, which is a significant 44% drop in utility cost from 2013.

(Samoa News should point out that some of the lowest prices for barrels of oil on the global market happened during this time — contributing to much lower fuel prices on island, which includes fuel for ASPA’s generators. The hourly kilowatt rate is tied to the cost of fuel, and Samoa News has been told by ASPA that any savings from the price of fuel dropping is passed on to the consumer.)

Lolo also said that ASPA’s highly commended debit meter program also continues to attract many residents for its budgetary convenience and accessibility, especially customers in the Manu’a island group.

In 2014, a total of 181 debit meter units were installed among homes and businesses in Manu’a, he said adding that about 85% of Manu’a residents are now enrolled and have installed debit meters.