Service station operator blames blackouts for poor business

National, Normal

Story and picture by ELIAS LARI

SERVICE stations, fast food outlets and shop owners in Western Highlands’ Anglimp-South Waghi district are crying foul over continuous power blackouts.
Businessman and managing director of Avi service station John Kuk said on Tuesday that the blackouts had badly affected his business.
“We depend on PNG Power to operate the fuel service station. But blackouts have been occurring four days a week since late last year.
“We have to shut down during blackouts, and this is really affecting business,” he said, adding that PNG Power workers were informed of the problem but the blackouts continue.
He said one of the motors for his fuel pumps blew up on Monday when power supply just went off, resulting in the closure of one of the pumps.
Mr Kuk, who is also a fast food operator, said cooked food kept in food warmers were also wasted during blackouts.
“This ongoing power blackout problem must be rectified for businesses to survive.
“Consumers should not be treated this way,” he said.
He said business houses were the major customers and PNG Power must do something to protect them.
Mr Kuk said some business houses used generators but that must not go on because fuel was costly.
“I closed my business last week when I saw that PNG Power was not doing anything to restore normal electricity supply,” Mr Kuk said.
“PNG Power must assure us that the power supply problem is rectified before we can return to normal business activities.”
A Mt Hagen PNG Power office staff, who wished to remain anonymous, said the power supply disruptions were caused by continuous rain and many areas like Kelua were suffering from blackouts.
“Trees were uprooted during storms, damaging power lines.
“This is the common cause during the wet season,” the staff said, adding that PNG Power employees were working to restore supply.