Power outage hits as king attending grandchildren’s prize giving triggers criticisms  

An unexpected power outage this morning on Tongatapu  has provoked another public furore over Tonga Power’s role in the country’s ongoing power outage saga.

King attending his grandchildren’s’ prize giving ceremony

Tonga Power later apologised this afternoon and said the issue had been fixed.

“Please be informed that there was a temporary interruption in the power supply to your areas due to an unexpected technical issue that affected one of our power generators at the Popua power station”, it said.

“This issue has been resolved and the power supply to your areas has been switched on.

Once again, we regret for any inconvenience that this power disruption has caused”.

Reports said King Tupou VI was attending his grandchildren’s prize giving at the Maamaloa Primary School when the incident occurred.

Tonga Power consumers on Tongatapu  have been hit by power outages that have worsened in recent months and have forced some people to take to Facebook and vented their frustrations. This included those who said they had equipment which had been damaged by the outage.

“There is no governmental action to address these ongoing problems,” a commenter said.

“I thought when the king is attending an event the power company should do its best to make sure there’s no problem with electricity in that area”, one commenter wrote.

Last week the company apologised after an unexpected outage hit the Hihifo areas on Tongatapu.

“We regret to inform you of an unexpected technical issue affecting one of our power generators at the Popua power station.”, it said.  

“As a result, we are conducting controlled “Electricity Load Shedding” operations to address this emergency.

“Affected areas might include:

• Vahe Hihifo Area: Maui, Hofoa, Puke, Sia’atoutai, Fatai, Lakepa, Nukunuku, Matahau, Te’ekiu, Masilamea, Fo’ui, Ha’avakatolo, Kolovai, ‘Ahau, Kanokupolu, and Ha’atafu”.

Tonga Power came under fire last year after the deadly Hunga Tong-Hunga Ha’apai eruptions when consumers complained about what they described as a shocking spike in power bills.

In response Tonga Power told consumers that power bills for January 2022 were being distributed and would reflect  the government’s contribution of $100 for each household in Tongatapu and Vava’u.

However the spike appeared to have persisted before Tonga power said it would hire experts from overseas to help resolve the issue which was described as a fault in the organisation’s computer programme used to calculate the electricity used by consumers.

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