Kumul Petroleum: getting power to the people


Kumul Petroleum Holdings has been working non-stop to assist the National Government reach its goal of connecting 70 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s population to electricity within the next eight years. Here’s how it’s advancing.

Credit: Kumul Petroleum

To assist the National Government to achieve the National Electricity Roll-Out Plan goals of 70 per cent of the population having access to electricity by 2030, Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited has been installing the necessary ‘last mile’ connections so that communities and local infrastructure are able to link to the Ramu Grid.

PNG Power has been gradually extending and upgrading the main Ramu Grid, based on the hydroelectric generation facilities at Yonki in Eastern Highlands. The grid extends from Lae on the coast of the Huon Gulf to all the Highlands regional centres, including Mt Hagen, Mendi, Tari and  Wabag.

For more than two years under one of its corporate social responsibility programs, Kumul Petroleum has funded the construction of power transmission lines in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces. In most instances, for ease of construction this has been carried alongside access roads linking villages and infrastructure in the two provinces.

By the end of 2020, more than 165 kilometres of 22Kv transmission lines had been constructed in four locations in the two provinces, using a small number of local construction contractors to connect communities near Mendi, Tari and Koroba. Apart from individual residences, such connections potentially include 24 churches, seven schools, three health facilities and more than 40 business houses.

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Local contractors carry out fabrication of the hundreds of steel power poles necessary, together with assembly of transformers and other components. On completion, the transmission lines are handed over to the State utility, PNG Power Limited, to initiate electrification and connection to the main grid.

Civil Engineer with Kumul Petroleum, Ephraim Tammy, manages the company’s rural electrification program and regularly visits the work locations. He says, ‘We are more than happy with the safety and technical performance of the local contractors we have selected and pleased that all of the casual labour and transport vehicles required for this work are sourced locally within these provinces.’

During the recent year, construction of more 60 kilometres of transmission lines has continued in the Southern Highlands, linking communities near stations such as Nipa, Kagua and Erave. Additionally in New Ireland transmission lines have been constructed to connect electricity to rural villages near the provincial capital of Kavieng.

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