The recent lengthy power outages in Lae are unacceptable and I apologise to the people of Lae. As the industrial hub of our country, reliable power is essential.
I travelled from Goroka to Lae last week and spoke with business and political leaders to learn first-hand of the problems. It comes as no surprise that regular power outages are having a significant impact on businesses and the community as a whole.
I am deeply concerned and have asked Mr Alastair Andrews, recently appointed Chief Operating Officer to take the lead and work on restoring reliable power to Lae.
Mr Andrews is putting together a plan specifically to address reliability issues in Lae.
There are low-cost measures that can be implemented fairly quickly and other solutions that will require significant investment and time to deliver” said Mr Andrews.
The set-up of the protection system in place to trip components when there is a fault or disturbance appears to require significant review with new settings modeled and implemented. Some of these new settings start installation this week across the substations in the Ramu System.
The generator refurbishment projects started in 2014 require a focus in 2018 to keep them on track. They have faced funding and associated issues that have caused delays, inefficiencies and risk to staff in the area.
There has been a focus on defect repair on the main transmission lines over the past year or so and this need to be completed in 2018 as well.
We are developing a coordinated program across all these projects and initiatives to ensure we minimise and the eliminate delays.
Finally we will also be looking for indications of deliberate vandalism that may be the cause of the latest series or indeed of any blackouts.
“Over the decades, PPL has had severe under investment in maintenance which has resulted in the generation, transmission and distribution networks not being up to standard. We cannot undo this under-resourcing of our power systems but we can start to rebuild with strategic planning and sensible investments” said Ms. Blacklock.
I would like to thank Alastair and his team who have worked tirelessly this past week to restore power as quickly as possible.
Carolyn Blacklock, Acting Managing Director