PNG’S trans­mis­sion chal­lenge

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Infrastructure -

While more elec­tric­ity is be­com­ing avail­able to state util­ity PNG Power, its next chal­lenge is the im­prove­ment of its trans­mis­sion net­work.

An anal­y­sis of the cout­nry’s three main power grids has re­vealed that in­ad­e­quate main­te­nance of plants and the trans­mis­sion lines is the pri­mary cause of fre­quent power out­ages, ac­cord­ing to a re­view con­ducted by Lon­don-based con­sul­tants, Eco­nomic Con­sult­ing As­so­ciates.

The re­port calls for ‘a stren­u­ous ef­fort’ over the next two years to en­sure the grids meet in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cepted sec­tor bench­marks.

‘Ba­si­cally, the re­view con­cluded that there is suf­fi­cient ex­ist­ing gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity within each of the grids to meet cur­rent de­mand,’ the International Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion’s Coun­try Man­ager, Gavin Mur­ray, told Busi­ness Ad­van­tage PNG.

‘The key is­sue is that the power can­not be de­liv­ered to the con­sumer in a re­li­able way, due to poor avail­abil­ity of gen­er­at­ing as­sets and de­fi­cien­cies in the main­te­nance and op­er­a­tion of the trans­mis­sion grids.’ The con­sul­tants con­cluded that de­mand for the Port Moresby grid could in­crease by be­tween 3% and 6%; the Ramu grid by be­tween 2.5% and 5%; and the Gazelle grid by be­tween 1% and 3.5% over the next 10 years.

hence our in­vest­ment in a data cen­tre,’ he said.

‘It’s a large in­vest­ment and it is an ex­am­ple of how a state-owned en­ter­prise can build an in­fras­truc­ture, us­ing best prac­tice from over­seas, for the bank­ing, min­ing or pri­vate sec­tor to on­shore its data.’

Costs down

For most of the past decade, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices in PNG have been costly.

‘In the last 18 months,’ says Don­nelly, ‘we’ve re­duced the whole­sale price for data by about 60% and the plan is to con­tinue to drop that over the com­ing two to three years to get it to a point where we’re achiev­ing international bench­marks.’

In­ter­con­nec­tion and ter­mi­na­tion fees are also com­ing down, he says.

‘But, ul­ti­mately, what’s go­ing to drive the price down is con­nect­ing con­sumers, busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions to that net­work and then al­low­ing more en­trants to en­ter the mar­ket to re­ally drive the prices down.’

Te­likom will also spend about K26 mil­lion in 2016 on wifi and fi­bre­op­tics, lay­ing ad­di­tional fi­bre around the coun­try.

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