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WATCH FOR IT: ASPA bills go up in the face of rising petroleum prices

ASPA Satala power plant

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — As expected, the American Samoa Power Authority issued a “Fuel Surcharge Notification” yesterday confirming the increase in the cost of electricity as the price of oil hiked globally, prompting the spike in the local maximum allowable price (MAP) or wholesale price, of petroleum products sold in the territory.

The new MAP, effective Sept. 15 and issued by ASG’s Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management Management (ODAPM), shows an increase for two straight months — August and September. And the increases also effect fuel for ASPA generators — which means an increase in the fuel surcharge on electric bills. (See Samoa News edition Sept. 18 for details on new MAP.)

“The recent increase in world diesel fuel prices has also meant an increase in ASPA's electric rates,” according to ASPA’s notification. Since the spike in September 2022 of about $0.53562 per kWh, ASPA says the September 2023 Residential System Rate stands at $0.37732 per kWh.

The fuel surcharge portion of the rate, which changes with the increase or decrease in cost of diesel, for September 2023 is $0.27992, compared to the September 2022 high of $0.43822. 

“As the cost of fuel at the gas station increases, so does the cost of fuel ASPA uses to generate electricity,” it says and noted that the fuel surcharge is approximately 70%-75% of the total kWh price.

And this is considered "pass-through" revenue because it goes directly to pay the local fuel suppliers for diesel fuel consumed at the five power plants in Tutuila, Manu'a and Aunuu.

ASPA reiterated earlier statements, saying that the power authority continues to explore renewable energy options for American Samoa with Wind Turbine technology as well as Solar Photovoltaic Panels (PV). 

These two Renewable Energy resources are the only proven technology that will fit within our islands landscape with the limited land and limited flowing water for Hydro Power, it says.

“Until then, we are at the mercy of global fuel market prices and the many challenges faced with shipping as well as higher costs of materials around the world,” the notice says.

Additionally, impacts of the aftermath of the war in Ukraine will continue to cause volatility in future fuel costs around the world and will ultimately affect the cost of electricity in American Samoa.