Affordable Electricity Benefits Industrialists while Rural Dwellers Pay High Prices: Deputy Minister

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Business owners have enjoyed profits from affordable electricity while rural residents have to rely on expensive private power supplies, said Dr Htun Naing, deputy minister for electricity and energy, who has called for funding for another generator.

He said: “We acquire electricity from private hydropower stations for around Ks68 (US$0.05) per unit and from gas-fuelled power plants for Ks158. Then we sell electricity back to citizens at Ks35 a unit and to industrialists at Ks75. So the government’s electricity distribution is facing a loss.”

Estimates suggest the power sector will show a loss of up to Ks378 billion in the fiscal year 2017-18. Only 35 per cent of the population has access to electricity, according to the deputy minister.

“Business owners and industrialists benefit from affordable electricity while more than 6.5 million households cannot enjoy electricity. Residents of remote areas that the main grid cannot reach have to rely on expensive private power supply. Where is the equality? I feel sorry for people in remote areas.”

He asked Parliament on March 13 for Ks30 billion to purchase 25-megawatt generator.

The country used 2,743 megawatts last year. Hydropower plants produced 1,840 megawatts and gas-fuelled plants 903 megawatts, according to the ministry.

Yangon Region used 1,250 megawatts of power last fiscal year, according to the Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation.

The region accounts for up to 50 per cent of the country’s power consumption. The ownership ratio between the government and the private sector in the electricity sector was 51:49, Htun Naing told a forum in Yangon.

The Ministry of Electricity and Energy on March 16 unveiled its plan to cut supplies to street lights to meet the anticipated power demand of 3,100 megawatts during the hot season.

The country can generate only 2,856 megawatts during the hot season. Turning off the street lights in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw would save 20 megawatts, according to the briefing.

 

Source: Eleven myanmar

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