By DALE LUMA
PNG Power Ltd (PPL) is owed around K460 million in outstanding Government bills and State commitments, according to a reliable source.
“The huge debt is preventing PNG Power from maintaining a reliable power network,” the source said.
“As a State agency, it is unfair on taxpayers that people who do not pay their bills have their power cut off but the government does not pay its bills (too).”
It is suggested that the Government move away from a centralised system and have Government agencies take care of their utility payments.
“So when they don’t pay, they get cut off,” the source said.
The Independent Competition and Consumer Commission (ICCC) had highlighted in a statement on Monday that one of the issues affecting PPL’s performance, thus the reliability of electricity supply around the country, included the non-payment of electricity bills by Government.
“The Government owes PPL significant outstanding electricity bills that impacts the financial position of PPL to effectively sustain its operations and meet its own financial obligations.”
PPL managing director Flagon Bekker previously told The National that the country had a choice: “Continue to live with blackouts or invest hundreds of millions of US dollars to reform the country’s power supply.”
He said another way PNG Power could be helped was for everyone to pay their bills on time every month.
“We can then use this money to money for equipment and projects we need to refurbish, repair and rebuild our power system, networks and technologies,” Bekker previously said.
“Without cash in the bank, we cannot buy spare parts or stock emergency items, or do planned maintenance.”
State Enterprise Minister William Duma previously told The National that Government was aware of the problems faced by PPL and was addressing those issues.
“We’ve already commenced the programme so over the next couple of months we will inform the public on what’s being done,” Duma had said.
“And hopefully before the end of this year you will see great improvement in the provision of electricity to our people in Port Moresby and other parts of the country.”
By DALE LUMA