PNG Power Ltd (PPL) wishes to clarify recent news articles in the media claiming that power outages have been causing damages and tend to blow up electrical appliances in homes and offices in the country.

It has to be made clear that all electrical appliances, before they pass out at the end of the assembly lines in the factories go through compulsory and stringent electrical safety checks.

This is to ensure that the items are manufactured according to Australia and New Zealand Standards which Papua New Guinea has adopted.

One of the tests involves putting the item (electrical appliance) under low and high voltage tests.

This is a simulation of the appliance being exposed to extreme voltages outside of its rated voltage levels. Any electrical or electronic appliance used in PNG must be rated at 240 volts.

As power system voltages are not always on a steady operating voltage, appliances when manufactured are tested to operate within a safe voltage operating range, in this case its 6% above or below 240 volts.

This means that any item operating on our power system can withstand voltage fluctuations/variations between 228-254 volts without blowing up. All electrical items that are brought into PNG must comply with this standard voltage rating.

In recent times, PPL has had very little control over the import of electrical goods that is now flooding the shops and business houses in the country.

A lot of these Asian products are entering PNG from China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.

The Asian white goods market in the country is growing as they can be purchased very cheaply thus compromising electrical standards and posing a safety hazard to consumers. The Australian and New Zealand white goods market is been heavily impacted by this.

PNG consumers nowadays have the tendency to purchase items based on cost rather than quality and a lot of these items that are flooding the market do not meet the PNG standards.

PPL through its Approvals Section tests and certifies all electrical appliances for compliance to the standards. This team regularly visits shops and suppliers of electrical goods to ensure what is sold on the shelves are compliant to standard and suitable for sale.

They look after the entire country and in their efforts to control prohibited electrical appliances, our Approvals Section is fighting a losing battle.

PPL is not a party to regulate import of white goods at respective entry points thus it has been working closely with the Department of Immigration to put in place a system that will see control of these products at the entry points.

These products enter the country through various wharfs and airports across the nation and PPL only gets involved when the items are already in the country and on the shelves.

PPL needs support and a concerted effort from the Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Chambers of Commerce, Customers, Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC), Internal Revenue Commission (IRC), the Customs office, National Institute of Standards and Industrial Technology, suppliers and consumers to counter the sale of prohibited items.

The government institutions can assist by working with PPL in putting in place a mechanism that will give the PPL approvals section the authority to conduct electricity safety checks on any white goods that enter the country.

It is a regulatory requirement that the supplier of electrical/electronic appliance meet the electrical standards by informing PNG Power of their products and asking for checks to be done. This is where a Certificate of Approval will be issued.

We would like to advise our dear consumers that before you purchase any electrical/electronic item, make sure the item you are purchasing has a PPL Certificate of Approval that is stamped and has a PPL logo.

The current practice of control is at the tail end of the supply chain. When the electrical appliances are already in country on the shop shelves, then PPL Approvals team is dispatched to do checks for compliance.

There needs to be consultative meetings with the respective state entities and chambers of commerce to work out a solution for this issue of how prohibited goods are entering the PNG market.

The option that PNG Power has is that any electrical / electronic appliances and equipment to be ordered by suppliers in PNG must be cleared for standard compliance by the PPL Approvals Section.

APEC meetings are held in May every year and currently there is a project called, Electrical & Electronic Mutual Agreement (EE MRA) taken up by all APEC nations. PNG through NISIT and PPL has progressed on this project and have completed part one of it.

The aim of this project is to control electrical / electronic goods to meet standards beginning in the factories and then dispatched for sale in all the APEC member countries.

All state entities and the chambers of commerce are invited to take part in this meeting every year to assist PPL and NISIT for us to put the control in place to restrict entry of prohibited electrical appliances.

The risk of buying an item that is non-compliant is huge to the customer and this can result in;

- An item blowing up in a very short time after being purchased so consumer spends money for repair or purchase of another one.

- Electrical shock or fatality from the electrical item due to poor quality, insulation failure, plug’s configuration, or tightness of plug to the wall socket,

- The plug being loose in the power point or the wall socket thus when appliance is in use creates arcing, sparks which can lead to electrical fires.

It is strongly recommended that shop owners selling electrical /electronic appliance and equipment must ensure they meet the electrical standards.

The onus is on the consumer when purchasing an electrical or electronic item in shops to carry out all the necessary checks as outlined.

The general public is encouraged to ask the shop assistant for help or contact the nearest PPL office for confirmation of the electrical appliance meeting the accepted standard and if it will be safe for use in your homes or work place.

We  strongly advise consumers to purchase wisely when you are buying electrical/electronic appliances and always ask for a Certificate of Approval from PNG Power before making a purchase so you can confirm if they appliance is compliant to PNG Electrical Standards.

 

John Tangit

Chief Executive Officer

PNG Power Ltd