Niupower concerned over bills owed

Niupower Limited has been supplying the National Capital District and Central Province with electricity through PNG Power Limited (PPL).

As PPL’s only customer on the Port Moresby Grid, Niupower has been able to support PPL with 54 to 57 megawatts of electricity.

However, according to Niupower CEO Michael Uiare, PPL has debts to settle. Uiare expressed that if the bills are not paid by September this year, Niupower is likely to face issues with paying their fuel supplier for the gas that is supplied to the power station.

“What that means is we either cut back dispatch or we’re going to have to curtail our supply of power to PNG Power because there’s no fuel for the power stations so that’s a very real challenge that’s approaching us in September this year.”

In 2021, Niupower’s support to PPL delivered a cash surplus of almost K50m to PPL and after paying their invoices, PPL would have realized a cash positive situation and therefore should have placed PPL in a strong position going into 2022.

Mr. Uiare added, “Hopefully between now and then we can see some resolution of the debt that’s owed to Niupower, but we fully support dispatch and this month we’ve been doing 54 out of 57 megawatts so you know we’re right up to 90% full capacity. But as I said, there are challenges that is significant and at the moment we need to see some movement or we just run out of cash to pay our fuel supplier by September.”

Mr. Uiare said that when we start winding back the supply of electricity it touches us all, our communities, our families in NCD and Central Province are affected, and it is important that we collaborate swiftly to find a solution to this.

In response to Niupower’s concerns, PPL Acting CEO issued a statement saying PPL does have a payment plan with all Independent Power Producers.

Batia stated, “We note that there has been a statement made by NiuPower CEO regarding payments owed by PNG Power to NiuPower. PNG Power has a weekly scheduled payment plan for all the Independent Power Producers or IPPs, which has been ongoing. IPPs are important to our business and we will keep to our commitments as agreed to.”

Batia added that PPL’s shareholder, Kumul Consolidated Holdings is keen to have a round table discussion with shareholders of NiuPower Ltd, particularly Kumul Petroleum Holdings and Oil Search Ltd.

Both power companies have been in partnership for the past two years. Uiare said through PPL’s support, Niupower has been able to deliver its community investment programs.

Carol Kidu