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PNG Power Receives Assistance from the World Bank

by PNG Business News - April 08, 2021

The World Bank has funded a $30 million (PGK105 million) project to help the state-owned electricity provider PNG Power boost its operational and financial efficiency.

The PNG Energy Utility Efficiency and Reliability Improvement Project (EUPRIP) arrives at a crucial time for PNG, with people around the country facing big problems with inadequate access to electricity, and even for those that do, unreliable power sources and long blackouts that are affecting households, industries, and critical service delivery.

Though PNG has tremendous untapped energy resources, growth is lagging, and electricity connectivity remains extremely limited, with only around 13 per cent of the country's 8.6 million population having access to grid-connected electricity.

The new project, which is scheduled to be completed between 2021 and 2026, will assist PPL in establishing a stable financial base and catalyze private investments in the energy sector.

The scheme includes the reconstruction, reinforcement, and improvement of utilities on PNG Power Limited's (PPL) owned and managed grids in Port Moresby, Ramu, and Gazelle.

The project would also help PPL boost its management and financial stability, with an emphasis on raising service quality to reach higher expectations on a regular basis.

PPL will gain assistance in developing the business reform strategy, which will include smart meter installation and emerging technology implementations.

In addition, through the planning and execution of a Least Cost Power Development Plan for PPL, the initiative will lead to lowering the cost of power generation and switching to clean, renewable energy.

William Duma, the Minister for State Enterprises, said that supplying inexpensive and stable electricity to the PNG community is critical to the government's growth plans and that it necessitates a well-functioning service provider.

Meanwhile, PPL Managing Director Flagon Bekker noted that the World Bank-funded PNG Energy Utility Efficiency and Reliability Improvement Project would allow PPL to contribute significantly to the Government's aim of connecting 70% of the population to electricity by 2030, as outlined in the PNG 2010-2030 Growth Strategic Plan.

“PPL is embarking on major corporate reform initiatives,” he said. “We look forward to working alongside the World Bank team to put in place critical improvements that will ultimately deliver stronger, more reliable energy for all Papua New Guineans.”

Stefano Mocci, the World Bank's Country Manager for Papua New Guinea, also stressed the importance of access to secure, affordable electricity for economic development; companies, schools, hospitals, and clinics, among countless other facilities in PNG, all need reliable, affordable electricity to keep the country developing.

“This new project builds on the groundwork delivered through the World Bank’s Energy Sector Development Project, which helped prepare PNG’s National Electrification Rollout Plan, and geospatial assessments to plan optimal approaches to provide electricity to 70 per cent of the country’s population by the year 2030,” he said.  “We’re proud to be helping ensure more Papua New Guineans can get connected - and stay connected – to reliable, affordable electricity in the years ahead.”

Agriculture, health, road transport, water and sanitation, electricity, rural service delivery, and youth jobs are among the nine successful projects supported by the World Bank in PNG, totalling approximately US$455 million.



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