Nay Pyi Taw res­i­dents com­plain of lack of elec­tric­ity

The Myanmar Times - - News - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

TENS of thou­sands of res­i­dents within miles of the na­tion’s cap­i­tal are de­prived of elec­tric­ity, even though power lines have been con­nected, par­lia­ment has heard. Amyotha Hlut­taw MP U Kyaw Myint Oo (NLD; Man­dalay 10) said many com­plaints had been re­ceived from the pub­lic about the power sup­ply com­mit­tees in the vil­lages in Nay Pyi Taw’s Union ter­ri­tory.

About 708 of the 796 vil­lages in the ter­ri­tory have elec­tric­ity, in­clud­ing about 500 vil­lages that have made their own power sup­ply ar­range­ments. But nearly half the vil­lage res­i­dents – about 40,000 out of 90,000 house­holds – re­ceive no elec­tric­ity be­cause they can­not pay the bills.

U Kyaw Myint Oo said a sys­tem of pay­ment by in­stal­ments should be in­tro­duced so that res­i­dents could af­ford power.

“Every­body would have elec­tric­ity if they could pay at the rate of K10,000 or K20,000 a month,” he said, call­ing on the power sup­ply com­mit­tees to be more trans­par­ent. “The com­mit­tees were set up for the pre­cise pur­pose of sup­ply­ing elec­tric­ity, but they’re go­ing about this all wrong,” he said.

The MP said that a law­suit be­tween Py­in­mana vil­lagers and the lo­cal power sup­ply com­mit­tee had been go­ing on for three years, and there was no res­o­lu­tion in sight de­spite 49 court hear­ings. It was time for the gov­ern­ment to step in, he said.

“The min­istry ini­tially al­lowed the com­mit­tee to charge K70 a unit dur­ing the two-year in­stal­la­tion pe­riod. But that two years is over now and they’re still charg­ing the same rate, even though the min­istry stan­dard is K35.

“They could at least spend the prof­its on putting up lamp posts and other in­fra­struc­ture, but they de­cided to spend it on flood re­lief and other things as they chose. We’ve re­ceived no re­ports about this,” U Htin Aung Kyaw, a res­i­dent of Zee Phyu Bin vil­lage, said.

Vil­lagers have a choice be­tween three tar­iffs to sign on to the elec­tric­ity plan and get hooked up to the grid: K500,000, K300,000 and K150,000. House­holds un­able to pay re­ceive no elec­tric­ity. Oth­ers have paid, but re­ceive no power be­cause their neigh­bours can­not pay.

“We do not have elec­tric­ity be­cause the house­holds around us can­not af­ford to pay the bills. There are no lamp posts. If you want elec­tric­ity, you have to erect the lamp post with your own money,” U Htin Aung Kyaw told The Myan­mar Times.

Though it has served as the na­tion’s pur­pose-built cap­i­tal since 2005, much of the Nay Pyi Taw Union Ter­ri­tory re­mains ru­ral and un­der­de­vel­oped.

Na­tion­wide, Myan­mar’s 2014 cen­sus found that just un­der one-third of the coun­try used elec­tric­ity for its main source of light­ing.

– Trans­la­tion by San Layy

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