Big choice on power

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THE country has a choice: Continue to live with more power blackouts or invest “hundreds of millions of (US) dollars” to reform the country’s power supply system.
The choice was laid out on the table yesterday by PNG Power Ltd managing director Flagon Bekker, who took up the position just two months ago.
“I personally believe the people of PNG are going to need to choose: start investing in the power system or live with blackouts that will get worse and worse,” he told The National.
“There is no easy answer here.”
He said the “hundreds of millions of US dollars” sounded like a lot of money “but we can do this as a business, without additional cost to the taxpayers if the PPL is allowed to reform”.
“If we can become more of a commercially-driven business with less social responsibilities (for example) not related to making, transmitting, distributing and selling electricity, it will help,” Brekker said.
He said another way consumers could help PNG Power was to pay their bills on time every month.
“We can then use this money for equipment and projects we need to refurbish, repair and rebuild our power system, networks and technologies,” he said.
“Without cash in the bank, we simply cannot buy spare parts or stock emergency items, or do planned maintenance.”
Bekker, who arrived from Perth in Western Australia with a 20-year experience working in the energy and industrial sector in various countries, said the Government was behind the company’s plans.
But it is hard to secure funding as there is “tremendous demand” for the funds the State has.
“We understand that. We are working with the (departments of) Treasury, Finance to find a way to fund the working capital and capital investment needed to make the grid work better for our customers,” he said.
“We are going to need to work together, prioritise this most essential of essential services for the future of our children.
“That is the way to look at it, I think.”
Bekker said PNG Power was not spending enough on the planned maintenance of its assets due to cash flow issues.
“The demands comes from many sources including social costs that a normal business (in the commercial space) does not have to carry,” he said.
“This is also partly due to our structure which we are addressing in our Refocus Initiative, (and) to funding shortfalls.
“We are working on options to bring capital into the business.
“We are reviewing all options to do this but always based on the best value for the people of Papua New Guinea.”


  • Great to hear from our new CEO of PNG Power Ltd. Now it’s time to action the plans that your team has with government support. Suggest that one of the plans would be for the State to sell 50% of the PPL shares to private organisations such as Superfunds and individuals to make PPL as a truly independent entity without any external interferences. Thank you Mr Bekker for coming to PNG and appreciate your time and efforts in making PPL a successful entity.

  • PNG Power needs restructure and complete overhaul of its cost base. It does not operate like a business. How much is PNG Powers average Annual Revenue? What is the percentage of Revenue that is turned into profit?
    PNG Power is a monopoly with a system put in place to milk out cash though various costs. Its costs item needs to be put under the microscope.

  • We have had both expat and local CEOs who either did not have any qualifications or experience in energy management/distribution or they did have something up their sleeves but never had the forward plans or ideas to modernize this government institution with dilapidated power generation and transmission systems. Now that we have secured the services of of an experienced CEO who can quickly recognize the problems and is suggesting ways to upgrade the systems by injecting enough funds to bring the “dying” systems to a level equivalent to that of the developed world, lets give him all our support he needs without politicizing the organization and creating bureaucratic red tape as is always the case in this country!

  • It’s a long overdue call and we need visionary CEO’s like Mr Bekker to transform PNG power into a new look PNG power which can generate more revenue for the People of PNG.
    Only time will tell. Good on you Sir.

  • Trupla man .. I never seen a PPL CEO come out publicly & talk about exact solutions to its problem ! PNG must take care of such person and help him accomplish what he has in mind !

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