A hydropower plant in Ponnagyun Township, Arakan State.

DMG Newsroom
7 August 2022, Sittwe

Without a set schedule for the cuts, power outages are causing significant hardship for the people of Arakan State.

This month, electricity has been cut off about three times a day, each time lasting at least two hours, according to local people in Arakan State.

In the past, respective township Electricity Supply Enterprise offices published a timetable by township and ward specifying when the electricity would be cut off and when it would be restored, but nothing of the sort has been offered during this latest round of power shortages.

The public is aware of the fact that the electricity is cut off without prior notice, said Ko Myo Lwin, a resident of Ann, to DMG.

“With natural gas from Arakan State, we are in a position to generate power for the entire Arakan State, 24 hours a day. However, cutting off the electricity without any reason like this is a dirty act that disrespects the public,” he said.

Arakan State residents do not know exactly when the electricity will go out, so it is not convenient for them to work, said U Aung Than Tun, a local from Mrauk-U’s Htammarit ward.

“The Electricity Supply Enterprise cuts off the electricity at any time and without prior notice, causing hardships for the people and making it inconvenient to work,” he told DMG.

Individual entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises that rely on electricity see productivity negatively impacted by the unscheduled power cuts.

Due to the frequent power outages of late, Daw Ei Phyo Paing said she had to buy and use K10,000 worth of diesel a day to run a generator for her business, the Ngwe Yeik Teashop in Minbya Township.

“There are power outages, so of course we have grievances. If we can’t make fruit juices, customers will not come regularly, and our income will be low. Fuel prices are also rising, so on a normal day, we have to buy K10,000 worth of diesel to run the generator, and our profits are less,” she explained.

Housewives are also facing difficulties due to the power outages, as they are unable to cook rice on time and are delayed in other household matters every day, said Sittwe resident Daw Khin May.

“There are days when we have to eat at 10 o’clock at night due to prolonged power outages. If there is a fixed time when the electricity will be cut off, it would not be that difficult for the people,” she added.

In a speech on August 1, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing blamed “sabotage of the national grid by terrorists” for Myanmar’s electricity woes, referring to anti-regime forces.

In order to generate enough power to meet the country’s demand, the regime was prioritising generating hundreds of additional megawatts of electricity via hydropower dams, he added.

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