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Papua New Guinea

Line felling a costly issue in the Highlands

BY MATTHEW VARI

Line felling in the Highlands region has been a major issue for PNG Power Limited, affecting businesses, education, health, and even the ease of living in the region due to the sabotage activity, says PPL acting CEO Carolyn Blacklock.
She indicated major hot spots where PLL assets have been vandalised include Chimbu, Mt Hagen, Mendi and Wabag at a very costly price for services that all, including those destroying them, need.
“I have got a lot of problems in Chimbu at the moment where people are felling lines twice a week.
“We had major outages earlier this week in Hagen and the upper highlands, very disappointing and costs us a lot of money,” she said.
“One day we lost 200,000 odd kina just in disrupting services to PNG Power. Now you amplify that a hundred times when you think about the cost that has to schools, businesses, and hospitals- all because people are felling power lines.”
She said while some of the disruptions take place over reasons that have nothing to do with PPL but have issues to do with road infrastructure projects or other grievances unrelated to the vital service.
“In this job you have an enormous amount of need and you are not going to spend a long amount of time on people who destroyed your property and we have very long memories and some of our staff are threatened during incidents as well and we do need the healing to take place.”
PNG Power manager investigations and protective services Donbosco Mruwari said the practice of cutting tree onto power lines has been a ‘disease’ in the highlands region from Yonki to Chimbu, Mt Hagen, Mendi and Wabag.

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