Sunday, August 20, 2017

Electricity ministry to up supply

In the face of ever-rising energy demands and climbing temperatures, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy has released an aspirational blueprint for its first 100 days in office.

The ministry will strive to finish building electricity transmission yards across the country to boost electricity generation, said U Pe Zin Tun, Union electricity minister.

“We will increase electricity distribution within 100 days. Mawlamyine’s combined cycle power plant will generate 30 megawatts more by May 18 and Myingyan power plant will generate 133MW by May 31,” he said.

The ministry is also working on transmission projects in Chin and Rakhine states, as well as building transmission lines and yards in Nay Pyi Taw, Kachin, Kayah, Sagaing, Magwe and Ayeyarwady regions.

“A total of 15,000 households in Tamu township, Sagaing Region, will be electrified within 100 days,” said U Pe Zin Tun.

The new government merged the ministries of electric power and energy, with the new chapter now running four departments, five enterprises and two corporations, according to an official.

U Pe Zin Tun said consumption of electricity is up in every region, creating challenges.

“We still face difficulties with implementation, not only in generation but also in transmission and distribution,” said U Pe Zin Tun.

Electricity sector authorities have been under fire recently due to continuous blackouts across most of Myanmar’s cities. Their response to complaints, blaming outages on a “system breakdown”, prompted widespread criticism on social media.

If something happens along the national grid system it is called a “system breakdown”, according to the Electric Power Generation Enterprise.

The two main reasons for system breakdowns – including recent blackouts – are technical errors in power lines and bad weather. The country’s electricity consumption in hot season is much higher than at other times of the year.

The country’s total electricity consumption this summer reached 2730MW, while all of Myanmar’s power stations can only generate 2450MW of power combined, according to authorities.

The country’s commercial capital, Yangon, is responsible for more than half of the nation’s electricity demand, sucking up around 1250MW. The power plants near Yangon can generate only around 500MW, even though they are supposed to be able to generate 900MW, according to the ministry.

“We are going to install 150 electricity transformers and develop related power lines to [improve] electrification in Yangon within 100 days,” said minister U Pe Zin Tun.

Currently four power plants owned by the ministry and four that are private operated supply electricity to Yangon Region. Both sell electricity to Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation which distributes it to the public. There are a total of 12,218 transformers currently across Yangon.

The MoEE is also going to promote private investment in renewable energy development through its 100-day plan to ensure energy security in the whole country, it said.

Additional reporting by Zay Yar Linn and Pyae Thet Phyo, and translation by Emoon and Zar Zar Soe