No end to PNG Power's blackouts

POWER outages will continue to plague Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea because of ageing power lines, according to Independent Power Producers (IPP) PNG Industry Group (IP3) chairman David Burbidge.
No end to PNG Power's blackouts No end to PNG Power's blackouts No end to PNG Power's blackouts No end to PNG Power's blackouts No end to PNG Power's blackouts

David Burbidge

Staff Reporter

"The issues are many and complex. The main problem is the failure to invest to maintain or upgrade power infrastructure in the country," he added.
The National newspaper's Peter Esila reports that Burbidge said the aging networks could not support modern generation equipment and this was the basis for the technical and grid control issues with generators.
"The power tariff has not been increased for 10 years now and this makes it very difficult for PNG Power to fund any kind of upgrades," he added.
The current IPPs are PNG Forest Products Hydro, NiuPower, Dirio Power, New Britain Oil Palm, POSCO, Edevu Hydro (PNG Hydro Developments) and there have been no new ones due in part to several issues IPPs have had the past year.
"I cannot see anyone wanting to invest in this sector in the medium term until PPL returns to profitability," Burbidge said.
PNG Power chief executive officer Obed Batia said in a statement this week there were challenges on its operations nationwide affecting the supply of safe and reliable electricity supply.
"In Port Moresby, recent system outages were experienced due to technical issues between all generation power stations both at PNG Power and the IPPs," he said.
"We are working together with IPPs to ensure we correct the issues with respect to
grid control and regulation issues.
"Other isolated outages in the city are due to the current rainfall and vegetation controls.
"Many customers resist PNG Power officers from cutting the trees and clearing of the vegetation within their properties. We are working with external parties to control this.
"On the Ramu Grid, we continue to undergo load shedding in Madang and the Highlands provinces as the Ramu Hydropower Stations cannot supply to full generation capacity due to low water levels at the Yonki Dam.
"This has affected our supply since August. Lae has been split to run on island mode, mainly getting its supply from the Taraka and Mildford Power Station, Baiune Power Station in Bulolo and the Munum IPP.
"All Highlands centres and Madang have their standby power stations which supplement the load. There has been little increase in the water level but not to a capacity for the Ramu Hydropower Station to generate to full capacity.
"Gazelle Grid has stopped load shedding and the system is back to normal for Kokopo, Rabaul and Kerevat. In all other provincial centres that run on diesel fuel power stations, our challenge is ensuring our fuel suppliers get supply to our power stations on time.
"When supply is late, we resort to load shedding, which is conserving fuel until the next supply of fuel is delivered.
"Discussions are ongoing with our fuel suppliers to ensure supply is regular."