Plans To Resolve Power Outages

For too long, the city has been experiencing frequent power outages and Papua New Guineans have since been demanding answers.

An explanation has been given for the continuous power outage in the city, and it seems it all has to do with infrastructure needing an upgrade.

State Enterprises Minister William Duma said nearly all transmission lines in the grid and the equipment from the sub-stations are old and require replacements.

“We’ve been able to source some funding with the help mainly from the Asian Development Bank and we are expecting the second tranche to come into the States account around Christmas time. When we have access to some of the funds that we require we will start the process of rehabilitating most of the equipment and power stations and the entire transmission network that has been giving us problems,” said the Minister.

Minister Duma said that PNG Power has been able to identify and pinpoint where the problem areas are, to be able to get all the necessary equipment quickly and in real time.

PNG Power Board Chairman Moses Maladina said they had a plan in place for quick fix solutions and long term plans for grid stability.

“We have, right throughout the country, some legacy issues. It is the POM grid that we are addressing, the RAMU Grid and the grid in ENB. Therefore, I think the issues that we have over in the Highlands over the last week, there was a lot of rain and that affected lines in the Chimbu area which subsequently had an affect right throughout the upper Highlands,” said Mr Maladina.

Maladina stated that there had been issues with landslips under the pounder in Southern Highlands and that they were only operating on 4megawatt at the moment.

He said, “We are going to buy a 12megawatt generator just for Hagen as a standby solution whilst we fix up pounder and at the same time, we have the Yonki Toe of dam power plant generation, which will probably be commissioned in the next few weeks.”

Acting Managing Director for Kumul Consolidated Holdings, Dr. David Kavanamur said there is an increased investment in power on the grid in Port Moresby and Lae.

“We are looking at increased rehabilitation of the power grid on the Port Moresby side. Power supply is not an issue, it is the evacuation of power onto the power grid. You have to modernize the grid,” said Dr. Kavanamur.

He said that the power stations that are being worked on is the Motukea power station, the Papa/Lealea power grid, and Edibu station, which is coming on stream. There is about 54megawatts, they are working on the power station for Edibu and the transmission line all the way to Port Moresby, and that is also intended with water.

“There’s water and power interlinked. The consistency in supply and source and consistency in supply of water and therefore, those are measures that we have taken, not just for Port Moresby but the provinces as well,” said Dr. Kavanamur.

He added, “That’s quite important. Ramu too is coming on stream. We are working on the final approval of 180megawatts that will be generated with power lines running all the way up to Ramu Nickel and potentially all the way up to Angoram and covering up to West Sepik as well. Minister Duma and the PM have directed that if Edibu comes on stream, we supply power to Kerema and all the way to Alotau as well. Therefore, those are the short and medium term plans that we have in place.”

Maladina once again stressed on the concerns of legacy issues and said for the next 10-15 years, despite population increase, they have plans to facilitate that now to avoid problems in the future.

“In 5 years’ time, we shouldn’t have this kind of problem. So we are anticipating that we are having a grid from Yonki all the way through to Madang to Wewak, to Vanimo. We are thinking of Port Moresby to Kerema all the way through to Alotau. We have to plan now for the next 10 years and we anticipate that the population is going to increase,” he said.

It is hoped that come the New Year there will be an upgrade to old distribution and transmission lines.

Carol Kidu