Myanmar Spring Chronicle – April 01 Scenes
MoeMaKa, April 02 2023
Myanmar with worsening electricity problem that had lasted decades before
Before 2010, the problem of an electricity shortage, which was worst during the 1990s and 2000s military regime, has now worsened again after the military coup. In the past, it would have been said that the problem of electricity was the problem of people living in the city, but today, major cities like Yangon and Mandalay are not the only ones experiencing this issue. Other cities and villages in other states and regions have gradually started to use electricity in the last decade, and since they have extended the electricity supply, the problem of insufficient electricity is no longer just a problem in big cities, but also in some towns and villages.
The current serious power outage problem is mentioned by the military council as the current reason for the PDFs blowing up some natural gas pipelines and electric towers. The military council is publishing incidents of PDFs mining electricity towers that transmit power to Nay Pyi Taw from Thaton in Mon State and Kayah State, as the main point of electricity shortage and using it politically. In practice, it is true that natural gas pipelines and electricity towers were mined, but the military council did not reveal that there were other factors related to economic management.
The military is using the country’s foreign currency mainly to purchase military weapons, and is trying to reduce natural gas-fueled electricity production and sell more natural gas to earn more foreign currency. The increasing annual consumption of electricity and the decrease in production capacity are in reverse order and have the effect of reducing the number of hours available compared to previous years.
Power outages have a significant impact on business investment, manufacturing, and employment possibilities in addition to people’s everyday life, physical, emotional, educational, and health conditions.
The military council has already lost public support, so although the public’s dissatisfaction with the power outage will not be taken seriously, the economic losses will also affect the political power of the military council more or less.
Before the seizure of power by the military, electricity needs were purchased by units from private companies that produced electricity, and then fed into the power grid to run residential and industrial businesses. The electricity generation and distribution is a state-owned business that is losing money. Due to its impact on environmental protection, health, and the reduction of expenses associated with economic production, the previous elected government worked to increase the production of electricity year by year, but after the military coup, the situation became reversed.
Electricity is important for people living in rural areas of Myanmar for their quality of life, job opportunities, and income. Most people in big cities live in cramped high-rise buildings with little ventilation, and the problem of pumping water up due to a mismatch time between water distribution and electricity is having a great impact on their lives.