By LUKE KAMA
A Government cheque for K10 million paid by the Finance Department for outstanding electricity bills “bounced back”, leading to power cut in parliament for four days, according to acting Parliamentary Clerk Kala Aufa,pictured, Power was restored yesterday after it was cut off on Monday because bills were not paid, he said.
Aufa confirmed to The National yesterday in response to concerns raised by staff of parliament that they had been experiencing power cuts. Parliament was using generator supply all through the week.
The generator was stopped at about 2pm each day.
“We had our power being disconnected by PNG Power Limited (PPL) this week, on Monday, and I was told that this was due to non-payment of power bills,” Aufa said.
“A cheque for K10 million was paid by the Finance Department to PNG Power in December but I was told that the K10 million cheque had bounced back. “So they have done disconnections since Monday and we have been using our gen set, but fortunately the PNG Power people came and connected power again today (yesterday).”
Aufa said the payment of utility bills such as for water, electricity and telephone by state agencies was now being centralised at the Finance Department.
“Previously, we used get our own funding allocations for utility bills like water, power and telephone bills.
“The funding was given to us and we manage and pay our own bills but that has now changed and centralised at the Finance Department so they pay the utility bills for us.”
Aufa said he was not aware of the exact amount owed to PPL but said it was a substantial amount as it comprised of outstanding bills for other state agencies as well.
Attempts to get comment from the Finance Department regarding the cheque were unsuccessful. It is understood Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan is out of the country.
By LUKE KAMA