Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gov’t to buy back electricity from China to power Rangoon

Wednesday, 25 April 2012 18:57 Min Thet

Rangoon (Mizzima) – The Burmese government is negotiating to buy back 100 megawatts of electrical power sold to China to be used to provide more electricity in Rangoon Region.

Minister for Electric Power and Industry Nyan Tun Oo told Rangoon Region Assembly legislators of the plan in reply to a question raised by a legislator on Wednesday.

“We had to implement power cuts and a load shedding system this year because the power demand increased,” he told lawmakers. “We reduced the power supply to industrial zones to augment the power shortages in residential areas.

Downtown Rangoon by night along Sule Pagoda Road. The greater Rangoon area experiences constant electrical power cutoffs because of a lack of electricty. Photo: Wikipedia

“We will buy back 100 megawatts of power from China. This additional power will be distributed to the people,” said Nyan Tun Oo. It was not clear whether all of Rangoon's electrical power needs would be met by the buy-back plan. Experts have said that another problem with electrical capacity in Burma is an inadequate grid system and outdated infrastructure.

His remarks came in reply to questions by Kyimyindine No. 1 constituency legislator Kyi Kyi Mar and Bahan constituency legislator Dr. Nyo Nyo Thin.

The minister said that the power demand in Rangoon Region was between 500 and 600 megawatts, but it increased to 700 megawatts in 2012.

Under the current load shedding system, the Rangoon municipal area was divided into four zones, and the suburban and outskirt areas were divided into two zones, starting from April 2. The areas experience peak electricity periods and periods when electricity is not available or in short supply.

The minister did not mention the cost for the 100 megawatts of electrical power to be purchased from China. China is a major investor in hydropower dams in China, and receives the bulk of electricity generated by the dams.

Nyan Tun Oo also said the government would increase the gas supply to run generating turbines in Kyunchaung, Mann, Shwetaung, Myanaung and Thaton, outside Rangoon Region, to produce more electrical power. Currently, the turbines are running below capacity because of a lack of gas.

The government also has plans to build more power stations for power distribution to factories, businesses, residential areas and apartment blocks, he said.

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