Power Outages Impacting Trade and Businesses
The recent power outages have impacted trade and increased the cost of doing business, especially with refuelling and servicing generators.
This was according to Brian Bell group chief executive officer Cameron Mackellar, who added that his company had strong back-up plans across the country despite the frequent power outages - which was not good, he said
“We spent more than K300,000 in generator fuel across the group in 2020 and you only need a generator when you don’t have power,” he said. “This was nearly twice as much as we spent in 2019. Servicing and maintaining or replacing generators is an added cost as well. While we know this is just part of the fabric of being in business in PNG these days, there is an expectation it should not be getting worse. Particularly, given the agreed electrification project by 2030, the Government has committed.”
Meanwhile, Paradise Foods Ltd chief executive officer James Rice said, “However, it seems we are a long way from that in 2021.” He added that the power outages haven’t impacted their operations so far because they have generators - which are, however, increasing costs. He added that the outages have affected their production equipment which resulted in damaged products and repairs, costing the company thousands of kina a month.
Meanwhile, the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POMCCI) revealed that the outages were also affecting their operations.
According to President Rio Fiocco, some of their equipment and plant - which were expensive - were destroyed as a result of the outages.
PNG Power Ltd said that the power interruption was caused by a failure in the Waigani substation distribution transformer, which according to managing director Flagon Bekker, was perhaps caused by excessive tap-changing cycles.
The technical team, he said, was working to have this fixed.
Furthermore, Bekker said that PNG Power was also working with donor agencies to enhance the Port Moresby distribution and transmission system this year that would improve the power in the next five years.