West Sepik governor frustrated by delays on power hook-up

10:54 am on 3 October 2016

The Governor of Papua New Guinea's West Sepik, or Sandaun Province is calling for the national government to help connect Vanimo's electricity grid with neighbouring Indonesia.

Amkat Mai has expressed frustration that the state-owned company PNG Power has not yet connected the provincial capital's grid to Wutung at the Indonesian border.

Papua New Guinea showing border with Indonesia's Papua region

The border between Indonesia's Papua province and Papua New Guinea. Photo: 123RF

He said his provincial government has spent $US500,000 to purchase a diesel generator from Indonesia which has linked up power from the capital of Papua province to the border and the bureaucrats in Waigani don't seem to grasp that Vanimo has growing needs for development but is always short of power.

"I think they don't have the bigger vision. We need to bring power to the (Bewani) Oil Palm (project), to Bhatas (the market on the border), so PNG Power can actually make money from the plantation, from the houses et cetera," he said.

"But they are too slow, and for the connection with Indonesia, they are doubting, because of the border security reasons."

Mr Mai said he has also committed $US1.3 million of local district service improvement funds to erecting power poles between Vanimo and the border.

He said the cables and poles were just laying idle in Vanimo, and in the absence of positive action from central government, his province needed to get moving to meet its own electricity needs.