Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

WEEKEND READINGS. Now posted from Friday 3.00pm, and ongoing.
Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Electricity Bill

At the moment one of the things hot on people’s lips is the electricity bill. For those of us who were around when the Monasavu dam was being built we looked forward to the fulfillment of the promise that the hydro system would save us a lot of money. We waited and we waited and we waited some more.

Then those in authority said, “Sorry folks the issue is beyond our control, world fuel prices are just too high you will have to foot the bill, and pay another security deposit because just too many customers are running away.” Then we complained and when fuel prices went down the cost of electricity remained the same.

Then we are bombarded by advertisements to save energy and get companies could take part in energy saving exercises and win. Some did and probably won a little rebate on their bill. In Waiyavi many homes that used to have all night outside lights are now in total darkness. Yes folks they are saving electricity because the street lights illuminate their home.

And when day breaks and I walk pass the lamp post at about 11 o’clock and I see the street light still shining. How about the authority turns its lights of also to show us that they too are conserving energy.

Here is something interesting - It was reported in Associated Press - As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of this Detroit enclave turn to pitch black, the only illumination coming from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes. It wasn't always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out -- bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness. "How can you darken any city?" asked Victoria Dowdell, standing in the halo of a light in her front yard. "I think that was a disgrace. She said the decision endangers everyone, especially people who have to walk around at night or catch the bus. Highland Park's decision is one of the nation's most extreme austerity measures, even among the scores of communities that can no longer afford to provide basic services. Other towns have postponed roadwork, cut back on trash collection and closed libraries, for example. But to people left in the dark night after night, removing streetlights seems more drastic. And unlike many other cutbacks that can easily be reversed, this one appears to be permanent.

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