Police, Soldiers To Assist PNG Power Collect Overdue Accounts

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State of emergency declared to facilitate actions

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 8, 2015) – Police and soldiers have been called out under state of emergency powers to help electricity services provider PNG Power collect hundreds of millions of kina it is owed.

The two-month joint operation, effective from today, will cost K4 million.

The National Executive Council yesterday decided on this course of action to recoup more than K200 million owed by both the public and private sectors and individuals.

It invoked the state of emergency provisions on all electricity services nationwide to address the electricity issues and bring in reforms which would include a major overhaul of PNG Power.

Public Enterprises and State Investment Minister Ben Micah said Cabinet had invoked the Essential Services Act, giving him control of all powers in relation to electricity services and power regulation and related services from the PNG Power board and management and IPBC under the SOE regulations.

He has appointed former Defence Force chief of staff Colonel Tom Ur as controller and Teika Tefetau as deputy and an advisory committee led by IPBC acting Secretary Clement Waine.

Using the emergency powers, Mr Micah, among other things, had:

Mr Micah said he has consulted widely, including the Police Commissioner and PNG Defence Force commander and will work with the advisory group appointed by Cabinet.

"The Government has taken into serious consideration the concerns and outcry of our people and the business and corporate community and the image of our country and has made this decision," Mr Micah said.

He warned that any person, groups or bodies that is a barrier or intends to disrupt the exercise of this emergency or disobeys lawful directives will face the full force of the emergency laws.

Hospitals and schools and institutions that are deemed to be of strategic and security interest of the State would be given due consideration under the emergency law.

He said the police and military will be used where and when necessary to exercise their duties under the emergency law and urged all to cooperate with relevant authorities and work together.

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