23 Aug 2005

PNG capital suffers power cuts amid landowners dispute

3:49 pm on 23 August 2005

Residents in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, face power and water supply cuts after landowner protests over the non-payment of rent for the sites of the city's hydro-electric power stations.

Disgruntled Koiari villagers in the Rouna Valley ordered power workers to shut down turbines yesterday after they failed to get a positive response from the Papua New Guinea government over rental demands.

Police have been sent to guard the power stations in the valley, which also channels the city's water supply from a dam on the Sogeri Plateau.

PNG Power has imposed power rationing, resulting in power cuts, after the hydro shutdown forced it to rely on its two thermal stations in the city.

The landowners say the government has failed to honour a 2003 memorandum of understanding relating to land use payments totalling tens of millions of dollars dating back to 1953.