RESPONSE TO POWER OUTAGES IN PORT MORESBY AND NATIONWIDE
In the recent weeks, there have been various articles and discussions in both the mainstream media and social media concerning the repeated system outage restoration performance issues on our power grids around the country.
Recent one being last night in Port Moresby where were we experienced a total system outage which affected power supply and the restoration process.
PNG Power acknowledges that this is not an acceptable level of performance and we have been and will always continue to work hard to restore service as quickly and as safely possible.
We also acknowledge that we are experiencing significant technical challenges across all power sector business units. As is well documented, they are mostly due to the challenge of our ageing infrastructure coupled with the transition as we work on targeted investment projects to improve the reliability and availability of the affected assets.
The recent events over the last few hours, were attributable to inadequate frequency regulation of the grid. This happens when the grid comes under pressure from a mismatch of load and supply. Typically, this can happen with aging grid-related power quality support infrastructure.
The emergency corrective actions commenced immediately and focus was on restoring system service, safely, as a matter of urgency. Upon completion of the activities, the system was finally restored to full service at 10.56pm.
The event yesterday started at 18:89 with Line 545 tripping and isolating around 20MW supply from a key supply line. The system protection operated correctly in response, removing approximately 20MW of load by shedding 5 of the important feeders.
Our System control contacted a key backup power station to start up their units to support the regulation of frequency but while this was progressing, the frequency started to swing and the unit could not ramp up to the required supply in time, resulting in a blackout at 19:28.
Restoration was started at 8:08pm and fully restored by 9:36pm returning the system again to ‘’power’’ mode from “frequency mode” as is standard practice. Unfortunately, this was done without sufficient grid stability leading to a second outage at 9:49pm which then was fully restored at 10:56pm.
Our focus since the return of service has been to follow our standard operating procedures and perform the required root cause analyses.
PNG Power acknowledges we can always improve on the timely update on our progress or the status during the outage events and, while I focus is on restoration activities, we will endeavor to provide more timely updates during the event around the estimated return of service and associated key developments.
Looking longer term
PNG Power continues to review its performance and implement the associated, incremental improvements required.
As an example, PNG Power intends to undertake a deeper review of its asset management practices in order to better balanced decisions between short, medium, and long term actions as it relates to the age of the infrastructure, its remaining useful life & how best to manage the transition between the old and the new. This will be key to the maintenance practice improvements going forward. But, we want to be transparent on this – improvements of this type will take time.
While progress on the improvements have not been fast enough; your power utility will continue to work hard to execute on the significant investment required to correct this situation. But it is going to take time.
While COVID-19 has, unavoidably impacted a few projects, reviews are being conducted to determine where and how to regain this lost time. Your power utility is committed, engaged and working hard to deliver for you!
But progress has been made on various fronts, despite very difficult circumstances and we intend to update our customers on the progress shortly. We thank all our partners, stakeholders and our customers for their continued patience on all fronts.
PNG Power remains fully committed to the programs supported by all our valued partners. In this, too, we intend to work to update you more often on progress on these key projects in the future. In addition, we will leave no stone unturned to deliver on the initiatives and projects, and PNG Power remains open to engage & partner with any organization that supports an accelerated improvement in our performance across all indicators, not just the delivery of projects.