Electricity supply in Popondetta town was fully restored on Friday, 10 January 2014 after rectifying fault and completing maintenance work on two of the three diesel generators that are currently in operation.
One of these generators had a technical problem with its radiator in 2013 and the other encountering synchronizing difficulty due to its electronics settings allowing PPL Popondetta conducting load shedding while waiting for spare parts to arrive on site.
A maintenance team from Port Moresby arrived in Popondetta and restored the unit, thus load shedding exercise was ceased at 8am on 10 January.
Moreover, in order to boost supply for electricity customers, a leased unit is on its way to Popondetta from Lae and is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday 14 January 2014. Engineers are already on site to install this unit. And once installed, it will generate another 600 kW for Popondetta.
PPL Popondetta has a total of 5 units but two of them are undergoing major repair and rebuilding process while the other three are in full operation and generating at 1.4 Mw as equal to the demand in Popondetta.
One of the three units in operation is the biggest Detroit diesel engines in the country generating power for Popondetta. However, it has been having continuous problems with its electronics settings and could not generate up to its maximum capacity of 800 kW and only producing between 400-500kW.
PPL has made arrangements with MTU Detroit Diesel, Australia to send a specialist over to rectify the problem with the software program and the work is expected to begin in March 2014.
The total demand for Popondetta has increased from 1.350Mw in September 2013 to 1.4 Mw in December 2013 through to January 2014 as a result of new infrastructure development and business boom in Popondetta Township.
PPL is faced with the challenge to meet the increase in load demand, therefore, the company is bringing in the extra leased unit for surplus generation backup while upgrading the other two units offline with new engines.
By this weekend, the leased unit plus the three units in operation will be able to generate about 2.3Mw for Popondetta which will be more than the demand of 1.4Mw.
And once the Detroit unit fault finding issue is rectified then, its generation capacity will increase to 700kW, thus bringing the total generation capacity to 3 Mw by the end of March 2014.
The two units offline are undergoing rebuilding process and will be in operation in March 2014 to add an additional of 1.6Mw for Popondetta with surplus generation capacity available.