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Don’t stinge on budget to avoid power cuts during summer: MOEE


In Parliament yesterday, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) said the annual budget for power generation should be sustained in order to avoid power cuts and blackouts in the summer.

“The budget proposed by the MOEE should be maintained and not cut to avoid power outages. Power generation is not something that happens overnight and we should continue to invest in ensuring we have sufficient electricity,” said U Tun Naing, deputy minister of the MOEE, in response to questions raised by U Nay Myo Htet, MP from Kyauktada township, Yangon.

The blackouts this summer were caused by issues in the national grid, including damage caused by artillery from battles in conflict areas and disruptions caused by wildlife and plastic debris, and fewer hydropower plants, said U Tun Naing.

For example, plastic debris that got entangled on the Thabyay Wai- Thayarkone line caused power supply disruptions leading to blackouts in Yangon on April 24.

“And as existing dams where hydropower plants are built have been harnessed to supply water for agriculture, there was a decrease in the amount available for energy production,” he said.

“After we accumulated water at the dams, there were requests to release the water to irrigate the paddy fields downstream after the rainy season because of the need of people to cultivate. So, we had to consent to these requests. As a result, the electricity generation from hydropower plants decreased by up to 1,971 MWs,” he said.

U Tun Naing said that it takes up to eight years to build a hydropower plant and if the budget is cut by just a year, completion of such infrastructure projects would be delayed. “If the budget is cut for two or more years, all electricity targets will be affected,” he said.

He added that it is not true that other countries do not suffer from power outages. “In Singapore, blackouts can last for days. In the US, some outages last for up to two years. But in our country, we can get the power up and running again within hours,” he said.

U Soe Myint , Pyithu Hluttaw MP from Amarapura constituency, said Parliament does not cut the budget for necessary projects and infrastructure work unless the expenditures proposed are unreasonable.

The MOEE currently enjoys the second largest allocation of public funds at K5.6 trillion after the Ministry of Planning and Finance, accounting for 22.3 percent of all ministries’ expenditures.

Source: Myanmar Times

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