The ‘se­cret’ be­hind many power cuts

Mizzima Business Weekly - - AFFAIRS // INTERVIEW -

In July, Myan­mar’s Min­istry of Elec­tric Power (MEP) is­sued a reg­u­la­tion re­quir­ing ev­ery new apart­ment con­struc­tion pro­ject that con­sumes 30 kilowatts of elec­tric­ity or more to in­stall trans­form­ers, which are es­sen­tial to chang­ing AC volt­ages from one volt­age level to another within power net­works.

How­ever, the Yan­gon City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee (YCDC) has not fol­lowed up by adopt­ing new rules re­gard­ing the in­stal­la­tion of trans­form­ers in new apart­ment build­ings. Lo­cal media re­ported that dis­cus­sions be­tween the two de­part­ments are on­go­ing.

Put sim­ply, the lack of trans­form­ers as well as a lack of main­te­nance is of­ten what causes power cuts in Yan­gon, rather than an ac­tual short­age of elec­tric­ity. Any­one that has been near an ex­plod­ing trans­former can tes­tify that the sound is so pow­er­ful it al­most causes a re­ver­ber­a­tion – not to men­tion that it’s highly dan­ger­ous and un­de­sir­able.

MEP’s ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions are in­ad­e­quate for pro­vid­ing roundthe-clock elec­tric­ity, which is why in­stead of re­quir­ing apart­ments with more than 18 units to in­stall a trans­former, MEP re­cently sug­gested that this be ex­tended to any build­ings that use at least 30KW and have more than four elec­tric­ity me­ters. Con­struc­tions firms have voiced their op­po­si­tion to the pro­posal, cit­ing pos­si­ble loss of prof­its. A sin­gle trans­former costs hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars and some of the largest can serve a 100 kilo­me­tre ra­dius.

With house­hold con­sump­tion of elec­tric­ity in Myan­mar ris­ing by around 30 per­cent each year, the Min­istry of Elec­tric Power recog­nises the need to up­grade and ex­pand the net­work of ex­ist­ing trans­form­ers. In Au­gust it an­nounced that new trans­form­ers will be in­stalled in a wide va­ri­ety of town­ships span­ning Taunggyi, Myawaddy, Kalay, Thaketa and Oak­shipin, Kut Khai, Tai Nin, Phalum, Kotkarate, Min­tone, Minkin, Loutkai, Phasaung, Ma Li, Saw, Min­pyar, Kanma, Chaung­zone and Pha­yar Gone (Zar­tapyin).

Such news is wel­comed not only by res­i­dents, but by po­ten­tial sup­pli­ers – one of whom at­tended last week’s Green Energy Sum­mit.

Ma­hanum Adelin MD Ad­nan is as­sis­tant man­ager of sales and mar­ket­ing at Malaysia Trans­form­ers, which is a sub­sidiary of Te­naga Na­sional Ber­had (TNB). TNB was set up as Malaysia’s Cen­tral Elec­tric­ity Board in 1949 and it re­mains the coun­try’s largest elec­tric­ity util­ity provider and has more than 33,000 em­ploy­ees. In 2007, Malaysia Trans­former be­came a wholly owned sub­sidiary of TNB and Ms Adelin said that TNB is keen to make in­roads into emerg­ing mar­kets and is fo­cus­ing on the Asia-Pa­cific, Mid­dle East and North Africa re­gions.

“We’re keen to do more busi­ness in South­east Asia. Though we ac­knowl­edge that China and In­dia sup­ply a lot of trans­form­ers to Myan­mar, we know that our prices are com­pet­i­tive and our qual­ity stan­dards are very high. Many of the trans­form­ers used in Myan­mar are from China and the qual­ity is

Ma­hanum Adelin MD Ad­nan, as­sis­tant man­ager of sales and mar­ket­ing at Malaysia Trans­form­ers. Photo: Jes­sica Mud­ditt

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