Private company to provide electricity for southern Burma

September 14, 2017

HURFOM: On August 19th 2017, Bedok Construction and Engineering Co., Ltd. (BCE) organized a public consultation meeting with local community members in the Rehmonnya Monastery in Lamine, southern Ye Township, Mon State. Company officials, member of Mon State Parliament Dr Min Soe Linn, the village administrators of Lamine Sub-township, as well as local villagers joined the meeting to discuss about providing electricity in their regions.

BCE is currently providing electricity in the Ngyan Tae Quarter of Mawlamyine City, and the company has already been granted permission from the union government to distribute electricity in Mon and Karen states and parts of Tenasserim Division.

According to the meeting, the company has four priority areas for providing electricity:  Kyaikmayaw Township; southern Ye Township; northern Ye Township; and southern Burma. However, the company has decided to postpone its project in Kyaikmayaw and to start with nine villages nearby Lamine Sub-township.

The company is ready to begin operations and hope to provide electricity to the local community members before the end of March 2018.

The [electricity] fee will be very much cheaper; the company will charge only 285 [kyat] per unit. In the past, we had to pay 600 [kyat] per unit. The fee is defined by the price of petrol. When the electricity power plant is finished, it will cost twice as cheap. But the electricity provided by the state [Burmese government] only costs 35 kyat per unit. We still have to pay nearly 300 kyat per unit. We’re feeling frustrated as we don’t have equal rights,” said Nai Oak Sar from Taung Pyin village of Lamine Sub-township.

According to the villagers, the electricity fee charged by BCE is 285 kyat per unit; however, the fee may vary up to 20% in accordance with a rise or fall in the price of petrol. The company will inform the villagers one month in advance if the fee is changed. The electric meter boxes will be set up freely and the villagers have the right to manage the electrical wiring system in their houses. The electricity will be distributed 24 hours a day.

The price of electricity is expected to fall over time. BCE will charge 285 kyat per unit in the first two years and 265 kyat in the next three years. When the company has been granted permission from the government to distribute electricity from liquefied natural gas (LNG), the electricity fee will drop to 245 kyat per unit.

During a consultation with local residents on May 12th 2017 in Ye City, Ye Township, Mon State, Chief Minister Dr. Aye Zan promised that all of Ye Township would have access to electricity within 18 months.

Most of the remote villages in Burma rely on self-funded projects to get electricity. Locally-formed Village Electricity Committees are notorious for corruption, mismanagement, and having little transparency. However, the Minister of Electricity and Energy has admitted in Parliament that it was next to impossible to demolish all Village Electricity Committees now, but promised to end corruption amongst committees.

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