Micah pays tribute to PNG Power Ltd

Public Enterprises and State Investments Minister, Ben Micah has lauded PNG Power for its continued perseverance and commitment in providing electricity services to Papua New Guinea in the last 50 years.

At the same time, the Minister said the challenge now is to be able to provide affordable, reliable and a wider power access to a greater section to the people of this country.

He said that PNG Power should not dwell too much right now on the power outages as the country was still going through a development phase.

“Every time people complain about blackout but I think it’s only a temporary issue.

“I have been to places in the world where you can consider blackouts as a luxury and some country’s can go without power for weeks,” Mr. Micah said.

He paid tribute to the workforce saying the anniversary was all about celebrating the extent of the hard work you they have put in bringing the company to where it is today.

Without consistency and commitment to dedicate your life in one organization, PPL won’t have survived this far, said Mr. Micah.

All PNG Power employees nationwide I say thank you to all of you for making this company as it is today, he added.

Back in early 2000, Minister Micah as the Chairman of the Privatisation Commission was responsible for the transition of ELCOM into PNG Power.

He said that he was happy with what has transpired over the last 10 years under the corporatization plan adding that when he left in 2002, PPL was making a gross turnover of K600 million and now it’s gone over the K1 billion mark.

“This is a big achievement and I believe with the improvements happening this year and next year, we will be financially sustainable,” he said.

The challenge is there in profitability but the real key challenge is how we can provide reliable and low cost power to users whether they are industrial, domestic or government, the Minister said.

He pointed out that he was more interested in achieving reliability, accessibility and affordable cost of power to the consumers.

He made this remark while referring to an announcement made a couple months back to leave the electricity tariff increase and look at how the company can come up with internal savings and managing these costs.

“Our challenge is really to ensure and maintain a certain level of tariff rate that we can work out for our consumers.

“If we are able to do that and achieve a healthy margin of profit then that will only be a bonus,” he said.

The country is going through a major boom that is driven by the resource sector and soon the first phase of exporting LNG to other countries will take place which will place the economic development agenda of this country into a higher level.

Mr. Micah said that these are important projects that require PNG Power to tap into and reap benefits out from it.
“It is possible only if PNG Power and the Government working together, we step up and develop the LNG infrastructure utilizing all the available resources available in our country to produce energy.

“Cabinet has now approve a proposed strategy that I have put to them on what I believe will be the energy platform that will make this strategy that I am talking about. It will be underpinned by some of the key strategies that lays out the policy drive for state enterprises and specifically for the energy industry,” he said.

He confirmed that several large projects have been approved and one of them is the commencement of a serious of investigations into the Purari Hydro.

Mr. Micah said that Purari is going to be ‘the project’ and that the government believes that by combining studies undertaken by PNG Power, PNG Sustainable Development Program, Eda Power and Origin, it can be able to develop a financing and technical strategy working together with some of the big companies then we can be able to put this project together

If we develop this project and meet the domestic requirement of potential industrial projects, PNG Power is certainly going to thrive on the back of all this.

He said that with the Purari Hydro Project, the government will make sure it involves itself from mid-stream all the way to marketing.

“I am talking about building an energy infrastructure in delivering all these projects and when I am talking about power, it means power from all available resources,” he said.

He concluded by saying that he would like to see PPL take on these challenges and deliver it in the next 25 years.