Since the military coup in February 2021, power outages have become a frequent occurrence in Arakan State, and this month, electricity has been out at least twice a day, often lasting for four hours or more.
DMG spoke to local residents about the difficulties they face amid such regular disruptions to the power supply.
U Aung Kyaw Nyunt || Founder || Pan Pyoe Let Private High School
Electricity needs to be used effectively; it needs to be properly provided at important times. For example, students are supposed to study at 7 p.m., but if the electricity goes out, they will not be able to work at all. Not only the students but also the teachers are demoralised due to the power outages. At 11 p.m., when the students go to bed, the electricity comes back on.
The fact that the electricity comes on when you are sleeping indicates that the officials are not properly distributing the electricity. People suffer greatly due to power outages and students cannot study. People can’t work because of power outages.
Electricity should be properly distributed. For example, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., electricity should be distributed because it is study time for students. Businesses can plan in advance if they know the exact time electricity will be supplied and when the power will be out. Electricity should be directed toward the times of cooking and reading. The government should ensure the distribution of electricity conveniently.
Daw Khin Than Wai || Housewife || Sittwe
If the electricity is going to be cut off frequently, it is no longer convenient for the housewives to cook to fill the lunchbox for their children. If the electricity goes out while cooking, the time will be delayed and it will be inconvenient for the children to make it [to school] on time. If you have electricity, you save time. Housewives are constantly working with their hands, so not only cooking, but also other washing and cleaning tasks; if there is electricity, these tasks are convenient. If there is no electricity, work is delayed. That’s why I want to have regular electricity.
The grandchildren in my house are also students, so it is very bad if the electricity goes out in the evening. They have to finish their homework every day. When children have electricity, they can read clearly. If there is no electricity, it is not convenient for children to read. If they have electricity, they read normally and finish all their homework. I wish the electricity would come on regularly when I read at night. The children also have a lot of work to do every day, and it helps them. That’s why I want to have electricity regularly.
Ko Aung Nyein Htay || Staffer || Sky Copier Shop
If the electricity goes out, it lasts for almost five hours, so there are some people who are inconvenienced. Electricity is important. It’s not convenient to turn on the generator immediately. Now, due to the high price of fuel, if there is a power outage, there are little difficulties like that.
In my opinion, it would be fine if the electricity came on regularly only during the day. People who provide electricity also have their own limits and things to do. If you cut the electricity, I think it should only be cut for two hours [maximum]. If you have regular electricity, that’s even better. The people we are dealing with will be more comfortable if they have regular electricity.
Daw Nyo Aye || Sittwe Resident
Yesterday, there was a power outage from around 10 o’clock, and it came back around dawn. The authorities distribute electricity, and cut it off. Sometimes the electricity goes out while cooking. At night, electricity is supplied from 11 o’clock. In order to buy charcoal, everyone is in trouble during this period.
People are also insecure due to power cuts. While most people are in dire straits due to rising commodity prices, electricity cuts are common and everyone is miserable. I think everyone has that kind of feeling. Sometimes there is no electricity to heat a kettle to drink a cup of hot water. In my opinion, the authorities are deliberately making people miserable.
U Phoe San || Kyaukphyu Resident
Mainly, either the Ministry of Electricity or the government needs to announce to the public that there are power cuts. The government needs to be transparent and explain that it cannot provide enough electricity to the people. Some of the people doing business that requires electricity are also worried about when the electricity will be cut. There are people who work with electrical equipment who are completely cut off and are immediately left dead in the water.
In the case of large factories that operate with large machines, there are cases where electricity cuts off and immediately burns, and transformers are damaged. When there is no electricity, it is inevitable that evil activities will appear, which can become a danger to the public. I see that only when the departments openly explain why the electricity is cut off can the public give input.