I call it a curse for many reasons but I won't discuss them all. It's a curse because it really doesn't matter which government is in place or which CEO is appointed, no one - and I mean no one - has really addressed the blackout curse
PORT MORESBY - What is it? Is it some kind of magic or witchcraft? Is it a spell or incantation?
This is Papua New Guinea - a place where black power still rules the lives of citizens in the urban centres and rural areas.
Is it a disease like the Black Death in Europe of the Middle Ages? Or is it some epidemic like Covid-19?
It could be a black hole, like the celestial body above, where even light cannot escape.
This blackout curse behaves like a black hole.
Whatever it is, it seems PNG cannot get rid of it.
The blackout curse is immune to whoever takes the top post whether it be the boss of PNG Power or the prime minister himself.
It has outlived all times and threatens to continue unless something drastic is done.
But what can be done?
It has continued to prevail under different circumstances and doesn't care who is dealing with it.
If you think your CV will save you, think again as many a CEO might want to blot out that period from their memory (and that of the computer).
It would be great if there was a magic spell to rid PNG of the curse, given that PNG is a country that still practices witchcraft and sorcery.
People in PNG always summon a shaman when things are not going right like looking for a job, healing a sickness, protection from evil spirits, good luck in finding a bride and much, much more.
I wonder why no one has thought about summoning a magician to end all the blackouts…. Oops, my bad. I forgot, PNG Power doesn't operate on magic.
The curse has nothing to do with magic. It just behaves like it does. It's been quite elusive dating back to ELCOM days. The names changed but the curse remains.
The same curse laughing at everything thrown at it. Its occurrence happens on a daily basis to the point that it's accepted.
It's not a point to argue with, just accept it because the blackout curse has outlived many and will continue to do so.
I haven't lived in any other city in PNG as long as I have in Port Moresby.
While the capital city tries to find its way through modernisation, some issues keep showing their ugly head. Some can be controlled by the authorities while others just evolve because of the changing circumstances.
While increasing in population, unemployment, law and order seem to be ever present issues the PNG Power blackout curse remains.
I call it a curse for many reasons but I won't discuss them all. It's a curse because it really doesn't matter which government is in place or which CEO is appointed, no one - and I mean no one - has really addressed the blackout curse.
I'm not an energy specialist, but I believe that all the factors that contribute to the blackout curse are factors that can be controlled by PNG Power.
If I’m mistaken then please somebody explain. If the dam is not big enough, make it bigger. If the landowners are complaining, pay them. If the diesel generators are faulty, fix them or buy new ones. What is the real issue here?
I'm not asking this question as someone who can provide solutions, but someone who is part of a growing population that needs an explanation.
Why are we accepting this substandard service year after year, year in and year out?
It is simple. When there is a blackout...PNG Power loses money.
But the costs still remain the same. We don't see workers being laid off due to a blackout. They still get paid.
So while PNG Power loses money during blackouts, the expenses keep piling up.
There must be a simple explanation to the blackout curse or it must be so complicated.
Despite having all the technical, expertise available from our development partners, the issue has not been addressed.
Development needs energy. Every time there is a black out the government of PNG loses money and this cost has to be settled by the population.
Money that could have been used to develop a road or maintain a hospital is used to fund the loss. So not only is PNG Power and the state making a loss, the nation's development efforts are impeded.
Someone in the hierarchy needs to tell the state what it will cost to eradicate blackouts and formulate how to go about addressing it.
Sometimes generators may not be working and departments send their staff home early. For them it's good; for the state it's bad. It means loss in productivity. But the people still get paid nonetheless.
Maybe privatisation of PNG Power is the logical step...what do you think?
Whatever it is PNG, we have to stop accepting that blackouts are a normal part of life.