Transformer rule sparks contractor complaints
THE Yangon Region government is reconsidering a new policy that would require contractors to install transformers in the vast majority of new buildings, following complaints that it will push up the cost of apartments for home buyers.
U Nay Win, deputy director of the Engineering Department (Building) at Yangon City Development Committee, said that contractors’ complaints had been considered at a region government meeting last week.
“We discussed contractors’ requests that they shouldn’t be responsible for installing transformers,” U Nay Win said. “At the meeting, Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein agreed they shouldn’t have to, but it hasn’t been decided whether to change the rule.”
The Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation (YESC) announced in August that developers applying for a Building Completion Certificate from YCDC have to make sure they have installed transformers if the building uses more than 30 kilowatts. YESC is hoping that more transformers installed across the city will help reduce the frequency of blackouts.
Under the previous rule, transformers were only required on buildings of eight or more floors. But a building with just three apartments or more is likely to hit the 30KW threshold, said U Nay Win.
Contractors say that taking responsibility for installing transformers in the vast majority of new projects means they will have to charge buyers higher prices. A group of Yangon contactors sent a joint letter to the Yangon Region government in October outlining their concerns.
U Nay Win said there had been much discussion between YCDC and the region government on the problem. One alternative is to have YESC take responsibility for installing the transformers and have contractors pay more towards installing electricity meters, he said.
“But no decision has been made yet and we going to think about whether that would be effective,” he said.
Some contractors working on new projects have already stumped up for the installation of transformers. One contractor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he had paid an spent an additional K25 million on installing a transformer for a 17-unit project.
“So I need to sell the apartments for more in order to compensate for the higher budget,” he said. “But if I can’t do that, I’ll lose money.”
Power supply is a serious challenge in Yangon.