Replacing PNG Power's ageing workforce will work wonders
PNG Power Ltd workers replacing a transformer in a Port Moresby suburb.
By Ellison Pidik
PNG Power Limited (PPL), Papua New Guinea’s state-owned supplier of electricity, is a monopoly, riddled with a lot of inefficiencies.
PPL is not only going to have big challenges ahead, they already have challenges and demands now, which they cannot meet. It has a very inefficient pricing policy, obviously reflecting its monopoly status.
Its revenue collection is wanting. They have not capitalized well on their Easy Pay strategy, which are advance payments. They should not be having any problems with arrears. They have an ageing staff problem and this is where their efficiency issues lies.
Capital investments should not be a problem, once they sort out their cash flow. PPL has not taken advantage of its extensive power-line network system - from Lae in the Morobe Province to Madang, Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province to Simbu, Mt Hagen (Western Highlands Province), Mendi (Southern Highlands Province and Wabag (Enga Province). They could have collaborated with telecommunication companies BMobile or Digicel and create magic with their network infrastructure. Opportunities missed!
They do not have a visible strategy for expansion work to the remote villages. They are taking a layback attitude. They expect politicians or small people to pay for power poles and lines to be pulled to some of these nearby areas. Even some of these orders take weeks or months to get attended to.
In other countries, if power blackouts are prolonged to more than 24 hours, a national emergency gets declared for those affected areas. But in PNG a power blackout can go on for days just like that, without anyone suing the state for lack of care. But it won’t be long before PPL gets sued for damages, I can see that coming. Literally as I see it, there are wrong people running the organisation and its ageing workforce needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
- This blog was first posted in PNG Facebook discussion group East New Britain Today and was in response to a PNGFM report which quoted PPL managing director Tony Koiri as saying “only 10 per cent of PNG had access to electricity with 70 per cent still in the dark”.