Saturday, August 19, 2017

Electricity demand soars as cuts hit Yangon

Myanmar's electricity demand is constantly increasing and 7.2 million new household electricity connections will be required by 2030, according to analysts speaking yesterday at the Myanmar Power Utilities Congress 2015 in Yangon.

Residents in Yangon hold a candlelit protest on May 22, 2012, against persistent power cuts. Photo: Kaung Htet/ The Myanmar TimesResidents in Yangon hold a candlelit protest on May 22, 2012, against persistent power cuts. Photo: Kaung Htet/ The Myanmar Times

Chester Toh, head of integrated regulatory practice at Rajah and Tann law firm, said demand will increase by an average of 450,000 new connections a year.

“Transmission of electricity is equally as important as generation and this needs greater foreign investment in developing efficient transmissions,” he said.

Electricity distribution by the government is a constant bone of contention with the public. Latest data by the Ministry of Electrical Power (MOEP) shows that 29 percent of the population is connected. The MOEP has a 15-year power development plan to boost distribution.

Mr Toh said Myanmar should plan to reduce its reliance on hydropower because it is unstable and dependent on seasonal elements, as well as leading to negative environmental and social impacts. Hydropower accounts for about 75 percent of supply, followed by gas with 23 pc, according to MOEP data.