YESC targets 1400 megawatts for Yangon

Yangon’s electricity supplier is hoping to increase power distribution in the blackout-plagued commercial capital to 1400 megawatts by next year.

“In the coming year, we expect 1350 or 1400 megawatts,” U Thant Zin, general manager of Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation, said at a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

The YESC general manager said Yangon’s electricity supplier is mindful of a period of recurrent blackouts in the city earlier this year that once again tested the patience of a public that has endured power shortages for decades. The blackouts came in April as peak demand pushed the grid in Yangon past the 1250MW it is capable of providing to the city.

“We are trying as best we can for no electricity cuts but we cannot guarantee it because not everything is perfect,” U Thant Zin said, echoing a familiar refrain: “Not everything is perfect”, of course, could be paraphased as “constrained by financial realities”.

“We admit, frankly, that we are not performing perfectly, because we do not have enough money to be perfect.”

With no budget and not enough time to bring new power plants online before the dry season sets in around October, U Thant Zin said YESC is hoping a patchwork of other measures can help meet electricity demand in 2017. That has included expanding its staff and financing, plus installing new transformers that allow for more efficient electricity transmission.

The onset of a spell of frequent blackouts in Yangon and other urban centres essentially coincided with the swearing-in of the National League for Democracy government in late March, presenting one of the first of several legacy challenges to the fledgling leadership.

Myanmar’s dry season typically wraps up over the March-April period, when months with little rain has hydropower plants operating at their least productive as water levels in lakes and rivers drop. To YESC’s chagrin, it is also typically the hottest time of year, with intensified use of millions of air conditioning units putting added strain on the power grid in Yangon and other cities.

According to an Asian Development Bank report last year, nationwide installed electricity generating capacity stood at 4422MW in 2014. But with the majority of it coming from hydropower plants, available capacity drops to 1560MW during the dry season.

The unreliable electricity supply in Myanmar’s largest city is often cited as a major barrier to entry for many would-be investors, requiring businesses looking to avoid disruptions to shoulder the added costs of generators and diesel fuel to run them.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

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