Papua New Guinea Government takes action to restructure PNG Power


As the Papua New Guinean Government prepares to present a state of emergency report on the country’s electricity services to Parliament, it has stepped in to make major changes to the way state utility PNG Power Ltd is managed to make it ‘more corporate oriented’.

The Yonki hydropower facility in Morobe Province

The Yonki hydropower facility in Morobe Province. Credit: PNG Power

In the first major move since a state of emergency was declared in Papua New Guinea’s electricity sector earlier this year, a number of key appointments have been made to the board of state energy utility, PNG Power Ltd.

PNG Power's John Mangos

PNG Power’s John Mangos

Former Digicel PNG Chief Executive Officer John Mangos has been appointed as Executive Director of PNG Power, while other new board members include David Conn of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (see this week’s People Moves). Acting CEO John Tangit and Board Chairman Larry Angali remain in their positions.

In a media release, Public Enterprises and State Investment Minister Ben Micah said Mangos would ‘assist the PPL executive management in its executive duties and responsibilities, providing a mentorship role to bring in modern management practices working together with the board’.

Micah added that the Government had appointed Mangos because of his impressive record in bringing Digicel from ground zero to holding 90% of the mobile communication market in PNG today.

State of Emergency

The PNG Government announced a State of Emergency in the electricity sector in January in a bid to fix the revenue problems faced by PNG Power.

State-owned Enterprises Minister, Ben MIcah

State-owned Enterprises Minister, Ben Micah

For a 60-day period, Micah had extraordinary powers to take companies and individuals to court for non-payment of bills and illegal use of electricity.

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Micah said a major recommendation of the report was the restructure of PNG Power, which was viewed ‘as a wholesome approach to improving and strengthening of the provision of electricity services’.

The new board would review and implement the recommendations of the upcoming report, Micah added.

‘The SOE [State of Emergency] Report also recommended and was approved by cabinet of major projects that will progress the development of electricity in PNG,’ Micah said.

‘The ultimate goal for the reforms in the electricity sector and the restructure of PPL is to introduce reliable and affordable power supply to at least 90 per cent of the population consistent with the goals of Vision 2050.’

Additional power generation projects

According to the Asian Development Bank, PNG currently has power generation capacity of around 580MW, but will need an estimated 2000MW of installed capacity by 2030 to keep pace with government targets.

Minister Micah also stated that approval had been given for new hydropower stations to be built at Edevua (Brown River), Gembogl, Kiburu, Tua River, Wara Simbu, Daewoo Lae, Hela and Puanda.

The PNG Government also this week signed an agreement with Italian construction firm, Salini-Impregilo, to jointly develop the 1800MW Karamui dam project in Simbu Province. This follows a recent deal with ExxonMobil to buy gas from the PNG LNG project for local power generation. The PNG Government has also announced a 10-year electricity infrastructure development plan.

In another move, the Government has made a significant change at the top of the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC), which oversees all state-owned enterprises, including PNG Power. It has appointed Garry Hersey to replace Managing Director Wasantha Kumarasiri, who has headed the IPBC since early 2013.

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