Three weeks after Cyclone Evan devastated homes and crops and brought down power lines, much of the rural areas of the West are still without power.
Reports from Ra show that most of the Province still has no electricity. The township of Vaileka has power but 70% of the rural areas are still waiting, some three weeks after Cyclone Evan ravaged the province.
FEA has outsourced the work of power restoration to a private contractor. Rural residents claim the contractor is too slow and that FEA is not doing enough to speed up the work.
“Why can’t they engage more contractors to speed things up?” asked Ganga Dharan a farmer from Draunivii.
Our officials in Tavua report similar frustration from the rural community, particularly those residing inland of the main highway.
“I would say that 60% of the homes have still not been connected. It is very frustrating that FEA is taking so long to restore power,” complained Mr Narayan Sami, a cane farmer of Balata.
Similarly in Ba, our surveys reveal that 55% of the rural sector is without power. These areas include Veisaru, Bulabula, Navoli, Vunisamaloa and most of the upper regions of Ba.
“This cyclone has proved that FEA no longer has the capacity to deal with such situations within an acceptable time frame. Its main problem has been the delay in engaging private contractors with capacity to carry out the restoration work,” said a retired FEA employee.