K105mil for power project set

Business

THE World Bank’s board of executive directors has approved a US$30 million (K105 million) project to support improvements to the operational and financial performance of PNG Power Ltd (PPL).
It said in a statement that the PNG energy utility performance and reliability improvement project (EUPRIP) came at a crucial time for the country, with citizens facing major challenges with poor access to electricity, and even for those with access; unreliable power supplies and lengthy blackouts that were affecting homes, businesses and the delivery of critical services.
It added that while the country had significant untapped energy resources, the development of those resources was lagging and the country’s electricity access remains extremely low, with only an estimated 13 per cent of PNG’s 8.6 million people having access to grid-connected electricity.
The new project, which is expected to be implemented between 2021 and 2026, will help establish a strong foundation for PPL to become financially sustainable and drive private investments in the energy sector.
Work on the project includes the rehabilitation, reinforcement and upgrade of infrastructure on the Port Moresby, Ramu and Gazelle grids owned and operated by PNG Power.
The project would also support improvements to the management and financial sustainability of PPL, with the focus on improving service quality to consistently meet higher standards.
Support will include assistance to PPL in developing its corporate reform plan, including installation of smart meters and new technology applications.
In addition, the project will contribute to reducing the cost of power generation and transitioning to sustainable, renewable energy through the preparation and implementation of a least cost power development plan for PPL.
State Enterprise Minister William Duma said providing affordable and reliable power to the population in the country remained central to the Government’s development plans and it required a well-functioning service provider.
“The World Bank-funded PNG energy utility performance and reliability improvement project is set to help PPL play a major role in the Government’s vision of connecting 70 per cent of the population to electricity by 2030, as outlined in the PNG 2010-2030 development strategic plan.”
PPL managing director Flagon Bekker said PPL was embarking on major corporate reform initiatives and they looked forward to working alongside the World Bank team to put in place critical improvements that would ultimately deliver stronger, more reliable energy for all Papua New Guineans.
Meanwhile, World Bank PNG country manager Stefano Mocci said access to reliable, affordable electricity was central to economic development; businesses, schools, hospitals and clinics, among countless other services in PNG, all need reliable, affordable power to keep the country growing.
“This new project builds on the groundwork delivered through the World Bank’s energy sector development project, which helped prepare PNG’s national electrification rollout plan and geospatial assessments to plan optimal approaches to provide electricity to 70 per cent of the country’s population by the year 2030,” he said.
“We’re proud to be helping ensure more Papua New Guineans can get connected – and stay connected – to reliable, affordable electricity in the years ahead.”
The World Bank currently supports nine active projects in PNG valued at approximately US$455 million (K1.56 billion).

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