Power bill deadline extended amid protests

Fenaka Corporation, the main electricity provider in the atolls, has extended the deadline for businesses to pay their March electricity bills after widespread protests over a subsidy cut.

Businesses and shops in several islands shut down in protest this week after electricity bills for March doubled and in some cases tripled following the removal of government subsidies.

Some have said they will not pay their bills until a new agreement is reached with the state-owned utility company.

Fenaka said in an announcement today that the new deadline is April 30, and businesses who pay by then will not face fines for late payment or disconnection.

However, the announcement warned that businesses will face fines or disconnection of services after May 1.

Businesses in Haa Dhaal Kulhdhuffushi, Gaafu Dhaal Thinadhoo, and Addu City have set up committees to negotiate with the government.

Businesses in Fuvahmulah and Vaikaradhoo are planning to submit a petition to the president demanding a fair price for electricity.

Gahdhoo in Gaaf Dhaal and Thulhaadhoo in Baa atoll meanwhile asked state electricity company Fenaka to pay the island councils for plots of land rented to the company.

Electricity prices are up to 72 percent higher in northern Haa Alif , Haa Dhaal, and Shaviyani Atolls and up to 37 percent higher in Addu City and Fuvahmulah than in Malé City, according to figures from Fenaka.