Saturday, August 19, 2017

Officials stand by Madaya power supply upgrade plan

Improvements to Madaya’s electricity supply will be implemented safely and transparently, the region’s electricity supply office has insisted.

The comments were made in response to residents’ campaign to halt the controversial project in Mandalay Region.

On May 19, the disagreement over the route of new power lines was settled in favour of the residents by a lucky draw.

However, Mandalay Region’s electricity minister said the deal was not acceptable and the project would proceed as originally planned.

A district electric engineer, who asked not to be named, said last week that the upgrade was needed to supply nearby villages with power.

“The current power usage outstrips what the substation can supply and the nearby villages still do not have power,” he said.

“That’s why we are installing a high-tension power line and another 5000kVA unit. After this project is completed, the town can use power to the fullest and in turn can supply the nearby villages with power.”

In the past Madaya received electricity through a 33 kilovolt cable line from the Letpanhla substation.

When the supply proved inadequate, permission was given to run additional power lines from the 230kV main substation in Myaukpyin, Mandalay, built in 2012.

The electricity supply office said the first stage of the project was the building of a new substation at Dingachaung in Madaya.

A substation located at the entrance to Madaya will be moved to the electricity supply office’s compound and surrounded by improved fencing.

Finally, 2.2km (1.36 miles) of 33kV high-tension cable will be run to the substation from Mandalay, and wooden posts used to install the cables will be replaced by 3-metre (4-foot) concrete posts; another 2.1km (1.3 miles) of 11kV cable will be run through the downtown area of Madaya.

Residents have protested the route of the cables, saying they pose a danger to residents and that removing about 160 trees on the main street to make room for them will damage the town’s image.

A protest group called Madaya Lovers said the choice not to run the cables along the town’s outskirts instead was simply a way for government to complete the project well under the allocated budget.

However, a senior official from the regional electricity supply office, who also asked not to be named, said spending on the project – slated to be finished within the 2013-14 financial year – would be transparent, with all expenses and equipment examined by an audit team.

The engineer has also stated that any trees along the cable route would be trimmed rather than cut down.

Translated by Thit Lwin