Sunday, February 20, 2011

Power blackouts to continue in Port Moresby and Lae


The new Kanudi gas turbine power station, which is expected to be operational by the end of this month, and helping to alleviate ongoing blackouts in Port Moresby.-Picture courtesy of PNG Power
Residents of Port Moresby and Lae will have to put up with ongoing electricity blackouts in the short-term, according to PNG Power chief executive officer Tony Koiri.
He said this in an exclusive interview last Friday in relation to the frequent blackouts in both cities.
They have been experiencing a spate of blackouts since last year, resulting in business houses and individuals losing million in business and private property such as electrical appliances, as well as experiencing security problems and many others.
Koiri said while the blackout problem in Port Moresby would be somewhat alleviated by the end of this month with a new gas turbine at the privately-owned Kanudi power station in Port Moresby, Lae residents would have to be patient as the main station at Yonki in Eastern Highlands, Ramu 1, needed a complete refurbishment, similar to what was done at Rouna 2 outside Port Moresby.
He said K50 million would be needed for refurbishment at Ramu 1 as PNGPPL looked to set up a new power station at Malahang in Lae to replace the outdated Milfordhaven station.
No time frame for refurbishment work at Yonki, or when the new power station at Malahang would be built, were given,
Koiri said Port Moresby currently needed 100 megawatts of power, however, only 54 MW was currently being supplied by Rouna, Kanudi and Moitaka power stations.
“The main contributing factor is the huge growth in demand of electricity with all the developments,” he said.
“Growth is running at about 10% (electricity demand) per annum.
“That’s the highest.
“On average, when you look at the past 20 years, the growth rate was about 2.5%
“This is a five-fold increase in electricity demand over the last two years.
“We never envisaged that the growth would be that much.
“All our planning was based on very conservative estimates.
“A lot of cities around the world don’t even have 10% growth, maybe in countries like India and China, but not the others.
“We need to quickly look at what generations options we have.
“Things like, for example hydro projects, take about four years to bring on line.
“Large thermal power stations take about two to three years.
“For us, this can’t solve our problems, so we go for expensive options like putting up gas turbines, like the one installed at Kanudi.
“We are hoping that this comes on line at the end of February.
“As far as the city is concerned, we are meeting demand now, but for us to properly manage the huge power supply system, we need to build up redundancy.
“We need about 24 megawatts of additional supply reserves to properly manage the power supply system in the city.
“With the gas turbine in February and redundancy units, we should have enough to meet demands, at least for the next six to eight month.
“By the end of this year, PPL needs to put in an additional 30 megawatts of diesel generation, just to meet increased demands and to have the reserves that we need.
“In the long term, we are looking at developing Naoro/Brown River hydro project which will give us 80 megawatts.
“We are anticipating, come 2015, for the power station to be up and running.
“We are also hoping that by 2014, some gas from the first LNG project will be made available for power generation.
“With these two projects, power supply in the city of Port Moresby will be secure from a generation point of view.
“Obviously, network type improvements will have to be invested in, including upgrading, and new lines.”
Koiri said in Lae, the main problem was that PNGPPL’s main station at Yonki, Ramu 1, needed a complete refurbishment, similar to what was done at Rouna 2.
“We are about to sign a contract with a company for K50 million as soon as financing arrangements are in place,” he said.
“The refurbishment project should take two years.
“Short-term solutions to the ongoing power outages in Lae are required.
“We are investigating acquisition of a new power station at Malahang.
“The power station will be sufficient to meet all of Lae’s requirements.
“We need to put that out quickly.”
“The issue of funding is now being discussed with patrons like Nambawan Super, in conjunction with IPBC.”
Koiri said PNGPPL was hoping to sign a memorandum of understanding with Nambawan Super this week for some assistance.


  1. Anonymous11:07 PM

    NASFUND should have lent money to PPL rather than buy treasury bills to help out an NA member with some pocket change ...Power for PNG in POM or LAE or MADANG OR THE HIGHLANDS would benefit everyone and not just a select few on the Gazelle strip ENB.
    PNG Power can burrow from the superfunds rather than going to the banks as these guys charge high interest rates...

  2. Anonymous2:36 AM

    Who owns the new gas power plant at Kanudi? I know HANJUNG owns the diesel plant at Kanudi.