By GABRIEL LAHOC
PNG Power Limited (PPL) has officially opened its new K25 million Taraka power station, with its 12-megawatt capacity, which will put an end to the city’s power woes starting this festive season.
It comes after months of complaints by Lae city residents and Morobe leaders about the continuous power cuts and rationing.
The PPL board and management had planned for the power station at the beginning of the year which took four months to build.
The electricity supplier’s most vocal critic, Morobe Governor Luther Wenge, officially opened the facilities last Tuesday, witnessed by distinguished guests from the province and PNG Power board members, management and its staff.
The governor apologised for his “genuine criticisms, and congratulated PPL which has committed a further K10 million to rehabilitate the aging Milfordhaven power station, which when upgraded will minimise the load shedding problems.
Lae has a total demand of 30-megawatts but Taraka and Lae power stations will provide a total supply of only 26-megawatts, whenever the power flow from Ramu hydro- power station at Yonki is affected.
While not giving a total guarantee of eradicating all the power woes, acting chief executive officer Lawrence Solomon revealed that PPL was still addressing some areas of shortfall and was planning to install a second transmission line from Ramu.
Mr Solomon indicated that to meet the increasing demand, PPL’s vision to build a modern power station in Morobe was affected because of land shortage, but when responding, Mr Wenge gave a guarantee to allow traditional land space through proper dialogue.
“I can press the button on to allow traditional land, but I want my Ahi and Nawaeb people to benefit,” he said.
Acting PPL board chairman William Kenjibi, acknowledged the Government for the increased 2010 budget allocation which, he said, would assist PPL with its rural electrification programme.
Most of the existing facilities since the Electricity Commission era are between 20 and 30 years-old, and it was highlighted during the day that PPL had committed itself to rehabilitating and eventually replacing them.
Meanwhile, PPL has thanked all its partners involved in the construction of the power station, with the technical staff for their commitment during the power outages in the city.