By HELEN TARAWA
PNG Power Limited acting managing director Carolyn Blacklock says cheap power, whether from gas or water (hydro), can reduce tariff if there are new power stations set up.
In response to Prime Minister James Marape’s call for reduced electricity costs, Blacklock told The National that bringing down the cost of electricity was possible if PNG Power adhered strictly to rehabilitating existing hydropower.
She also pointed out that phasing out imported diesel and heavy fuel would allow domestic sources of energy, including hydropower and gas, would contribute to reducing cost of electricity.
Blacklock said if PNG Power entered into long-term contracts tao buy power from independent power producers (IPP) it will continue to struggle financially and unable to pass on savings to its customers.
“We are also working hard to help our soon-to-be customers afford power by supporting the industrialisation of our country,” she said.
“Providing low-cost, reliable power to industry helps position PNG as investment-friendly to local and international businesses.
“It in turn helps Papua New Guinea compete as a destination for new and expanded businesses creating new opportunities for jobs and small businesses.”
She said reducing tariff helped “but we also need to grow household income through jobs and small businesses such as agriculture”.
“We are hopeful widespread electrification will lead to electric pumps that will allow farmers to lift and store water to enable high-quality crops that are drought-proof for instance,” Blacklock said.
Blacklock said she was committed when she started to restore confidence in PNG Power by establishing reliability.
She said there were constant blackouts with seven isolated centres experiencing weeks of no power.
“We had to stabilise operations and improve our financial situation,” Blacklock said.
“Secondly, I promised to increase access to electricity which is very low to less than 15 per cent.”
“Last year we connected 18,000 new households (up from 3000 in 2017) and we raised around US$1.2 million (about K4mil) under the Papua New Guinea electrification partnership.”
By HELEN TARAWA