Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry Holds Breakfast Meeting with National Energy Authority, USAID PEP

By: Miriam Mandibi June 06, 2023


The Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POMCCI) held its business breakfast meeting with the National Energy Authority and USAID PNG Electrification Partnership (PEP) on 1st of June 2023 at the Lamana Hotel.

The topic of discussion was on the "Update of the Energy Industry" with brief presentations given by Chief of Party, USAID-PEP Program Mr Bruce Corbet, and Chairman of National Energy Authority (NEA) Mr Joseph Gabut.

Mr Corbet, in his brief presentation, highlighted the current technical assistance provided in the country through the PEP program which includes the following:

  • Amnesty Campaign giving technical assistance to PNG Power to connect household power users, with so far connecting 40,000 Papua New Guinean users.
  • Pimaga Health Centre Solar Power Project 80kw, co-funded with Oil Search Foundation for the people of Kutubu in the Southern Highlands Province.
  • Feasibility Study in Alotu for an 8MW Power Project using waste from palm oil under an MOU signed by Milne Bay Provincial Government, PNG Power, New Britain Palm Oil, Kumul Consolidation Holdings, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and USAID PEP.
  • Establishment of mini off-grid power set up in Bogia District Mandang Province.

"We focus on technical assistance and do not give big capital funding assistance. We try our best to provide technical expertise, engage the private sector, and provide regulatory advice and policy framework", said Mr. Corbet. 

He concluded that PNG energy policy had a lot of inconsistencies, lacked tariff cost measures, but are willing to work along with National Energy Authority in terms of energy development. 

The next presentation was given by Mr Gabut, who spoke on National Energy Authority's role in the country as the energy industry regulator, and gave the following challenges and efforts faced by the Authority;

  • Tariff charges are gone through the roof and needs to be looked into, especially at PNG Power Ltd.
  • Regulatory issues with ICCC, as they are, are not helping at all and being stagnant. 
  • NEA is coordinating the Electrification Roll-Out Plan (NEROP) as expressed in the National Energy Policy, and an executive committee formed to specifically develop power project more efficiently within the given time-frame. 
  • New bill currently tabled by National Energy Authority to go through Cabinet within this month for amendments in regards to issuance of license for power projects and regulation.

"Papua New Guinea is blessed with a lot of natural resources in terms of Energy and Power Generation, but we have little energy policy and are yet to develop more policies in place to strengthen NEA and build up its funding to operate more efficiently. 

"All Pacific Islands are doing better than PNG and we are yet to perform well. Once the new bill is passed power undertakers and Utilities will have to perform well to expectations or either recommendations will be made by NEA to cease operations", said Mr Gabut. 

He concluded that the NEA was recently formed and heard a lot of tasks ahead of them in terms of capacity building and formulation of its untapped energy policies.

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