Mon State residents worry they can no longer afford electricity after Ministry of Electricity and Energy hikes rates

July 17, 2019

On June 25th 2019, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) announced that beginning in July 2019, the cost of electricity per kilowatt hour (kWh) would increase throughout Burma. The decision to increase electricity rates has been met with criticism from Mon State residents given that households are now required to pay nearly three times what they paid for electricity prior to the rate increase.

The cost of electricity was already increased once before, and if we now have to pay higher electricity bills we’ll no longer be able to pay our bills with the money we earn. This is a great burden for those who use electricity,” said Nai Shwe Win, a resident of Mawlamyine.

According to the MOEE, the decision to increase rates is not profit-driven but is being pursued to both bring electricity to rural areas that have yet to receive electrification, and to expand Burma’s electrification infrastructure.

The cost per kWh with respect to residential electricity consumption prior to the July 2019 rate increase was 35 kyat (US $0.02)per kWh when not exceeding 100 kWh; 40 kyat (US $0.02)per kWh when not exceeding 200 kWh; and 50 kyat (US $0.03) per kWh when in excess of 200 kWh in a single billing period.

The new rates for residential use break down as follows: usage not exceeding 30 kWh will be billed at 35 kyat per kWh; usage between 31 and 50 kWh will be billed at 50 kyat per kWh; usage between 51 and 75 kWh will be billed at 75 kyat (US $0.04) per kWh; usage between 76 and 100 kWh will be billed at 90 kyat (US $0.05) per kWh; usage between 101 and 150 kWh will be billed at 110 kyat (US $0.07) per kWh; usage between 151 and 200 kWh will be billed at 120 kyat (US $0.07) per kWh; and usage in excess of 200 kWh will be billed at 125 kyat (US $0.08) per kWh.

In the past, my house consumed approximately 80 to 90 kWh per month and I would pay about 3,000 kyat (US $1.98). With the new rates, I’ll now have to pay nearly 8,000 kyat (US $5.30). That’s almost three times as much. My house is just an ordinary house…For people that run a small business or shop out of their home and used to pay about 10,000 kyat (US $6.62) per month, they’ll have to start paying about 30,000 kyat (US $19.88) per month,” said Ko Ko Oo, a resident of Phel Doe village, Mudon Township.

For those who use electricity provided by the self-reliant Village Electricity Providing Committee, they paid about 70 to 75 kyat per kWh in one billing period. If the committee decides to increase the rates like the government and collects 200 kyat (US $0.13) per kWh, some villagers will be spending huge amounts of money on electricity every month,” continued Ko Ko Oo.

After informing the Union Government that they would be increasing electricity rates in accordance with Section 41 of the Myanmar Electricity Law, the Union Government approved the MOEE’s decision to increase rates on April 11th 2019.

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