The first digital electricity meters in Myanmar have been installed in Nay Pyi Taw’s Lewe township ahead of a national rollout that the government hopes will increase income from electricity sales.
The first meters were installed on July 15 and 100,000 units are expected to be added each year depending on budget allocation, said U Myint Aung, managing director of Electricity Distribution Enterprise under the Ministry of Electric Power 2.
Altogether 4000 are to be installed in Lewe, with Yangon and Mandalay next in line to receive digital meters, he said.
“Because of its proximity to our head office, Lewe was chosen as the first township. Based on our experience there we will identify what difficulties we are likely to face elsewhere so when we begin installing meters in other cities we can avoid those problems,” he said.
The digital meters are provided completely free of charge to customers and are produced by conglomerate Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd using “Korean technology”, U Myint Aung said.
He said six companies had applied for the contract but the ministry had selected the army-run firm because it had experience producing analogue meters and the South Korean technology in its digital meters was the best on offer.
The meters also come with a one-year warranty. Each will cost the ministry K85,500 with cabling, making the contract to supply digital meters to replace existing analogue meters worth almost US$250 million.
The meters are assembled at a factory in Indagyaw Industrial Zone in Bago Region, with the meter cover made in Myanmar and the components imported.
Businesses in industrial zones will be the first recipients in Yangon, where 906,575 analogue units were being used as of May.
Myanmar has a total of 2,453,856 analogue meters, with Mandalay accounting for 354,074 and Nay Pyi Taw about 70,000.
U Myint Maung said digital meters would provide more accurate usage information and would make it harder for people to illegally bypass meters and save money on their electricity bills.
Ministry staff will also be able to access usage data remotely up to 600 metres from a meter using a handheld computer, he said.
“It will save time because we won’t need to go from one house to another. Also, there will be less disputes arising because of discrepancies in power units recorded, either. Machine works by itself,” U Myint Aung said.
“Old meters rotate slower so not all the power used is recorded and the state sustains losses. This will not happen in the future [with the digital meters],” he said.
The Ministry of Electric Power 2 charges K35 a unit for households and K75 for businesses. – Translated by Thit Lwin