The residents of Port Moresby city who are already tired of the ongoing power disruptions currently experienced, have been assured that the supply of power will improve very soon.
Minister for State Enterprises William Duma said the matter should be resolved when the Kanudi and Moitaka gas fired power stations come back online after they were closed because of a major refurbishment of the machines at Rauna and the Sirinumu Dam.
Duma explained that the situation started when PNG Power Limited decided to undergo a major refurbishment and renovation program for its facilities up at the Sirinumu Dam and Rauna in the mountains of Sogeri in Central province.
“These systems were built by the Australians in the 1960s and since independence, there were no major refurbishment programs for those important assets and the risk is if there was no such major refurbishment work being carried out, machines will completely breakdown and PNG Power would then be required to buy new machineries and that would take years.”
He said PNG Power went ahead with this decision because it was comforted by the fact that the Independent Power Producers (IPP) like Niu Power and Dirio, would supply the Port Moresby power grid and with ExxonMobil also providing 25megawatts, PNG Power saw no major disruptions during the time when the refurbishment and maintenance is progressing.
However, Duma said ExxonMobil had to withdraw its services due to several reasons, leaving a gap of 25megawatts to be supplied to the city’s power grid.
“At the same time on the basis that Exxon was going to provide power as well as power from the two independent power producers, PNG Power also made the decision to close down two important power station at Kanudi and Moitaka,” Duma further explained.
He said that when ExxonMobil pulled out, PNG Power had to make every attempt to re-open Kanudi and Moitaka power stations. But the problem now was that when gas fired stations like these are shutdown, it will take some time to bring them back online.
“It was a decision that also reflected on the competence of the people at PNG Power, unfortunately. So, we’ve had to fly experts from Korea to rehabilitate those two stations and I can assure the people of Port Moresby that Moitaka will be back in full production in two weeks’ time and Kanudi will be back before Christmas,” said the minister.
Minister Duma said all this in response to questions from the Member for Obura-Wonenara John Boito in parliament today on matters relating to electricity services in the country.