Country still under threat of power outages

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said the threat of Antigua Power Company (APC) pulling the plug on electricity generation in the country would continue into 2013.

“There will be a continuing threat because the fact is they are owed a considerable amount of money,” he said.

“We have put a mechanism in place through the courts to address that but the challenges at Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) are such that there are times that they are unable to meet that commitment,” he noted.

The prime minister was speaking on OBSERVER Radio’s Big Issues yesterday when he said government is working on a solution to reduce the prevalence of power outages going forward.

When asked if APUA would be in a better position to pay APC, if the government were to pay off the considerable amount that it reportedly owes the utilities company (APUA), he said both the government and APUA have responsibilities to each other.

“Historically central government has owed APUA monies, but similarly, APUA has owed government a tremendous amount of money,” he said.

“I’m not saying that to suggest that they should be starved of support. Neither of us is in a position to pay up in the way we ought to.”

Without being specific Spencer reported that central government recognised the “huge” bill APUA has outstanding with APC and that every effort is being made to address it.

The prime minister added that government is not ruling out the possibility of separating APUA’s several departments into individual entities.

The PM added, however, that he believes the water division will always have to be subsidised by government as a social good.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)