The PNG Energy Utility Performance and Reliability Improvement Project (EUPRIP) comes at a crucial time for PNG, with Papua New Guineans across the country facing major challenges with poor access to electricity, and even for those with access; unreliable power supplies and lengthy blackouts that are impacting homes, businesses and the delivery of critical services.
While PNG has significant untapped energy resources, the development of these resources is lagging and the country’s electricity access remains extremely low, with only an estimated 13 percent of PNG’s 8.6 million people having access to grid-connected electricity.
The new project, which is expected to be implemented between 2021 and 2026, will help establish a strong foundation for PNG Power Limited (PPL), PNG's state-owned electricity provides, to become financially sustainable and catalyze private investments in the energy sector.
Works as part of the project include the rehabilitation, reinforcement and upgrade of infrastructure on the Port Moresby, Ramu and Gazelle grids owned and operated by PPL
The project will also support improvements to the management and financial sustainability of PPL, with the focus on improving service quality to consistently meet higher standards. Support will include assistance to PPL in developing its corporate reform plan, including installation of smart meters and new technology applications.
In addition, the project will contribute to reducing the cost of power generation and transitioning to sustainable, renewable energy through the preparation and implementation of a Least Cost Power Development Plan for PPL.
"Access to reliable, affordable electricity is central to economic development; businesses, schools, hospitals and clinics, among countless other services in PNG, all need reliable, affordable power to keep the country growing," said Stefano Mocci, World Bank Country Manager for Papua New Guinea, in a press release issued on Monday.
"This new project builds on the groundwork delivered through the World Bank’s Energy Sector Development Project, which helped prepare PNG’s National Electrification Rollout Plan, and geospatial assessments to plan optimal approaches to provide electricity to 70 percent of the country’s population by the year 2030," Mocci stated.
The World Bank currently supports nine active projects in PNG valued at approximately US$455 million, in sectors including agriculture, health, road transport, water and sanitation, energy, rural service delivery and youth employment.