No money to subsidise rural electricity: Duma

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PNG Power does not have the money to subsidise electricity for the rural population through the rural electrification programme, says Minister for Public Enterprises and State Investment William Duma.
Duma said PPL was not in a position to subsidise power for the rural population and agriculture industries.
He said there were two sources of energy – diesel generation and hydro-power.
“The nature of how they operate is not cheap. Most of the hydro gensets were established in the early 1960s and due to various changes of government and inability for PPL to rehabilitate the hydro, we have to resort to power produced by generators and they are not cheap,” Duma said.
“With the cost for out-of-date plants and expensive diesel generators , PPL is expected to provide decent dividends.
“If we can all work together to rehabilitate PPL’s existing facilities, we will look at subsidising.”
In response to clean and green energy, Duma said PPL did not have the resources to go down that path.
“We made it clear to the private sector . . . to come up with clean energy producing power plants.
“PPL is prepared to go into power purchase-producing agreements (and) as long as the prevailing power supply contracts are agreed to, it is possible.
“There are other opportunities like biomass power project as well as proposals by various companies to set up solar power plants in Port Moresby and other places, provided the price is good and affordable by PPL. Then we encourage investors to go down that path.”
He said PPL had not been performing well due to the inability of the management and underperforming power generation assets in the country.
“We are trying to change all this. It depends on me as the minister responsible to get support from all the leaders.
“We have income-generation capacity, we need time to rehabilitate restructure to turn around the company.”
Duma said PNG would consider separating the three important components of electricirty production – generation, transmission and retail – in the future.
“Our priority is to fix the internal problems we have and then we will go down that path.”

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