Week-long party marks 50 years

Normal, Papua

The National, Monday July 8th, 2013

 PNG Power marked its 50th anniversary with a week-long celebration fit for the important milestone.

From Monday to Saturday last week events were held in Port Moresby, Kokopo, Madang, Goroka and Alotau, with the big finale on Friday at the Port Moresby Country Club and open day on Saturday at Murray Barracks.

At the official celebration on Friday hosted by radio personality Kasti of 93FM, a festive POMCC was booked out and filled to capacity with PNG Power employees and their families.

A highlight was the recognition and awarding of employees who served the company for 30 years or more.

Three categories were bronze for 30 years of service, silver for 37 or more and gold for 40 years or more.

A total of 111 employees received awards.

Robert Maneo, from Bougainville, is the longest-serving employee, having given 44 years to Elcom and PNG Power.

Acting CEO John Tangitban said the company’s dream was to conquer darkness and their medium-term plan was to increase power supply throughout the rural areas of PNG.

Lawrence Solomon, a former CEO of PNG Power, gave a short history on major events since opening in 1963 as Elcom, taking over from the Commonwealth Department of Works company Electricity Undertakers.

Elcom began with only nine centres and 520km of power lines and today boasts a hefty 3000km of lines in every centre in PNG.

Solomon told of the rough patch that Elcom went through in 1996 when he was CEO and said thanks to the former Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation the power company managed to survive despite a large overdraft allowed by the bank.

Talks on privatisation fizzled out as the company picked up once again and became PNG Power.

“To maintain power in the future we have to invest in assets now and the Government should have helped us during that rough time,” he said.