NAYPYITAW — A 30-billion-kyat project to provide 24-hour electricity to four townships in Rakhine State will be completed in December, according to the Department of Electric Power Transmission and System Control under the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.
The project was launched in 2016 to provide electricity to Ponnagyun, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships. The first three townships have access to electricity at this point, said director U Kyaw Swa Soe Naing of the department.
“We’ve supplied electricity reaching Buthidaung. Only Maungdaw is left. We expect to complete the project by the end of December,” he said during the ministry’s monthly press conference in Naypyitaw on Thursday.
As of March, 1,530 households in Rathedaung and 3,374 households in Buthidaung had electricity around the clock, he added.
The project took so long due to various reasons including instability in the region and logistical difficulties.
Buthidaung Township has access to electricity around the clock on a trial basis as of November, said Lower House lawmaker U Aung Thaung Shwe of the township.
A curfew has been in effect in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships and civilians are not allowed to go outside between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
“As we have electricity now, people will feel emotionally safer despite the curfew,” he said.
“We have electricity, but there are still many people who don’t because they don’t yet have a meter box. So we still need to use charcoal to cook,” said Daw May Han Lwint, a resident of No. 4 Thabyaegon Ward in Buthidaung.
Including Maungdaw, the electricity coverage will have reached 96 percent of Rakhine State by the end of December, according to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.
“Those without meter boxes still do not have electricity. A meter box costs more than 100,000 kyats and not all of the people can afford that,” said Upper House lawmaker U Aung Kyaw Zan of Rakhine State Constituency (9).
According to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, Myanmar currently has 24 hydropower plants, 22 gas-fired power plants, and a coal-fired power plant, which produce a combined output of more than 3,000 megawatts that covers only 37.85 percent of total households in the country.
The ministry is building four gas-fired power plants with a projected total output of some 3,000 megawatts.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.