PORT MORESBY FACES POWER BLACKOUTS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 5) – Consumers in the National Capital District of Port Moresby will experience power blackouts for an indefinite period because of a breakdown at the Kanudi power station in Papua New Guinea.

Two machines at the Kanudi plant owned by South Korean company Hanjung, had been shut down because of faults with the computer that starts them.

The computer failed on Monday night, and since then, PNG Power Limited had been carrying out load shedding or power rationing in the National Capital District and surrounding areas between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and this would continue until the fault was fixed.

PNG Power chief executive office Lawrence Solomon said in a statement, the Hanjung-owned power station, situated outside the city center, uses computers to start the machines.

He said the computers, however, failed last Monday night.

"An expert was expected to be flown in from South Korea to work on the fault," Mr. Solomon said, without saying when exactly the expert was expected to arrive and how long it would take to rectify the problem.

He said the shutdown had caused a shortfall of 24 mega watts in power generation.

The total load demand for National Capital District and surrounding areas on a weekday is 78 mega watts but with the shutdown of the two machines at the Kanudi station, PNG Power is able to supply only 57 mega watts.

"Currently the four hydro power stations are supplying 39 mega watts while the thermal power station at Moitaka is supplying 18 mega watts," he said.

The Kanudi power station is a privately owned independent power producer from which PNG Power purchases electricity to supplement its own supply to consumers."

It is understood the Kanudi power plant was built to supply power under a build, operate and transfer arrangement with Papua New Guinea ELCOM [Electricity Commission], which PNG Power succeeded under the Government’s corporatization program.

January 6, 2006

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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