By LEMACH LAVARI
PNG Power Limited has called on the Government to reduce the electricity tariff by 50 per cent at least to make it affordable to more people.
Acting managing director Carolyn Blacklock, pictured, told The National that the current rates were set by the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission.
The rates per kilowatt is 70 toea for general consumers and K1 for industrial consumers.
“I estimate that a lowering of the tariff to at least half (of the current rate) will be required in the medium term,” Blacklock said.
Blacklock told the PNG Petroleum and Energy Summit in Port Moresby this week that the State-owned enterprise aimed to provide power to 70 per cent of the population by 2030.
To achieve that, Blacklock said the rate set by ICCC must be reduced to make electricity affordable to more people.
She believes that a change in the PNG Power business plan would help it achieve that 70 per cent power-accessibility target.
Government’s assistance in the rural electrification programme is allowing PNG Power to connect power to 1600 families each year.
Blacklock said PNG Power would take advantage of the government’s new energy policy to change its business model so that it could reach 125,000 households each year. “We are connecting (electricity to) 0.5 per cent of the population each year while the population is growing at 2.1 per cent. We have much more to do,” she said.
“We need to move from 1600 to 125,000 if we want to achieve 70 per cent electrification.”
She said a change in PNG Power’s business model would ensure it provided a reliable power supply to more people.
In regard to the cost of electricity, Minister for Energy Sam Basil told The National that the new energy policy would see other companies allowed to enter the market as electricity retailers to provide competition.
“We will be in charge of the transmission of electricity and will make sure that we open up the market for more players to come in so they provide competition,” Basil said.
By LEMACH LAVARI