Rolling blackout to continue until end of May: minister

The frequent power outages happening across Myanmar currently are due to electricity load reduction and the Ministry of Electricity and Energy says this will continue until the end of May.

All parts of Myanmar, including Yangon Regions which utilises up 50 percent of all electricity produced in the country, will experience the outages. The rolling blackouts are occurring in every township in Yangon.

Due to its high energy requirements, dense population, presence of more highrise buildings, and heavy traffic, Yangon experiences more of the load reduction than other regions and states, said Union Minister of Electricity and Energy U Win Khine during a meeting held at the Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation (YESC) to discuss ways to help the public cope with the blackouts.

“Temperatures are remarkably high across the country right now, so the ministry is trying to supply electricity to meet the public’s demand, but consumption has increased more than expected,” U Win Khine said. Nationwide electricity demand stood at 400 Megawatts at the end of April, he added.

“As the number of people who use electricity has increased, this is taxing the distribution grid. To counter this, we have to implement load reduction in order to not suffer extended widespread blackouts,” said YESC General Manager U Tin Aung.

As half of the country’s electricity is produced by hydropower, low water levels in dams due to a lack of rain has also has also affected power generation, U Tin Aung added.

“Due to the dependence on hydropower, the amount of electricity generated depends on the season. We produce less electricity during the dry season, but this also coincides with the highest demand. We apologise for the blackouts, but they are due to necessity as the grid is overloaded. The YESC’s workers have been extremely busy lately even as they have been criticised about the blackouts. We hope that the public understands the situation.

“I would also like to request that people use electricity as thriftily as possible and bear with the situation temporarily,” U Tin Aung said.

The load reduction blackouts are being implemented to prevent a larger number of people being hit by loss of power, he said, adding that since electricity production depends on rain, more power will be supplied if the situation allows.

The load reduction is being coordinated with regional and state governments to ensure that government, law enforcement, and public healthcare facilities, and infrastructure such as streetlights and transportation services still receive adequate power, U Win Khine explained.

Talks are also being held with factories and industries to provide power during the hours with the lowest usage, while the public are being educated to not use power unnecessarily, he said.

Plans had been discussed to generate 746.2 MW of electricity from various sources and to supply more parts of the country with electricity between 2016 and 2018. As of this year, new power plants fed by natural gas capable of producing 353MW have been completed, the minister said.

The government is working to electrify half of the country by the end of this year and hopes to provide stable power to areas where there is no electricity yet, he added.

According to a forecast by the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, the country will require more than 688MW of electricity by 2020 if consumption continues along this year’s rate. Another 500 MW will also be required as backup.

The government’s plan is to electrify 55pc of the country by 2021, 75pc by 2025-26 and 100pc by 2030, U Win Khine said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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