A private firm plans to invest up to K2 billion (about US$2.3 million) to improve electricity supply in Mandalay’s Chanmyarthazi township following the regional government’s decision to partly liberalise the sector.
Pacific Company began upgrading the electricity infrastructure in the township in August after winning a contract from the Mandalay Region government.
“We have been collecting data on the power requirements [in Chanmyarthazi] since we were designated as a power supply company. Power line cables need to be replaced and there is a pressing need to install 22 [315KV] transformers,” said U Than Naing, deputy chief engineer of Pacific Company.
Chanmyarthazi has more than 36,000 household electricity meters and consumes about 18 megawatts.
U Than Naing said Pacific was consulting with foreign companies to ensure it could provide adequate supply in summer, when the nation’s hydropower dams run low.
Pacific secured a five-year contract from the Mandalay Region government to sell electricity to consumers in the township, although the contract must be renewed each year. Rates will remain the same, at K35 a unit for households and K70 a unit for industry.
Mandalay Region Minister for Electric Power and Industry Dr Myint Kyu said the government had invited private companies to manage electricity distribution because urgent upgrades were needed to the network infrastructure.
“About 20 percent of power generated is lost in distribution because of a lack of transformers and worn-out power line cables. It will take time to repair everything if the government has to pay for it so the job was transferred to private companies to make it more convenient for customers,” he said.
“The company will change the cables, build substations and install new transformers. Only then will the lost power be retrieved and the state will get some more revenue.”
Complaints about power supply in Chanmarthazi should be submitted to Htundone substation (09-9104-9014), 59th Street substation (02-80179) and 65th Street substation on (02-80321).
Meanwhile, Myanmar Paungse Swanar Company has won a contract for Chanayetharzan township.
“We are studying the requirements for supplying power to Chanayethazan township. There are a lot of requirements,” an engineer from the company, U Paw San, said.
An announcement calling for private companies to sell power onto the national grid, via the Ministry for Electric Power, was made through the state-run New Light Myanmar newspaper on October 7.
Myanmar Sugar Development Public Co’s spokesperson, U Zaw Min, told The Myanmar Times last week the company, which is located in Sagaing Region’s Katha District, was interested in taking part in the project.
“This is good for the country and we plan to sell about 12.5 megawatts from our sugar factory to the ministry,” he said.
“And I’m sure we will be able to increase the amount we sell in future,” he said.
The New Light of Myanmar notice said the ministry would allow private entrepreneurs to act as “independent power producers on a manageable scale”.
The ministry has requested interested parties to submit proposals stating how much electricity they can supply. Interested parties must also sign agreements with the ministry, which will then be submitted to the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.
The Ministry of Electric Power official said the call for privately generated power has been made because the demand for electricity outweighs supply, with 1890MW needed but only 1500MW available.
– Translated by Thit Lwin