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Utility unable to pay fuel supplier

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 16, 2008) – Businesses operators in Alotau, the main town in Papua New Guinea’s Milne Bay province are growing increasingly angry at power cuts caused by PNG Power.

The state-owned power provider has reportedly been struggling to meet its commitments to its fuel supplier.

The president of the Alotau Chamber of Commerce, Jeff Abel, says many businesses and offices have been forced to stop services.

He says a number can fall back on emergency generators but this not a long term solution.

"If it gets any worse, put it this way, some of the main shopping centres are heavily dependent on town supply power and they are running their gen sets [generators] and they are only stand by gen sets - if PNG Power cannot supply the power and the gen set breaks down then the freezers can’t run. I have had people express concern about that, the managers of the shops."

Mr Abel says there has been a surge in crime since the power outages begin.

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