11 July 2024

Myanmar will see even more frequent power cuts, starting this month, according to local news media Khit Thit.

The article, posted on May 3rd, cites civil servants at the power ministry, stating that many parts of Myanmar will see 12 hour blackouts after only four hours of electricity supply.

The article quotes an anonymous source saying that the previous power supply schedule was categorised by townships and districts in groups A and B, but a new list will further dissect each area. An area which gets 4 hours of electricity will then have to wait another 12 hours, as the power supply rotates through the other areas.

While there was no immediate implementation of such a plan in the downtown area of Yangon, more suburban areas, such as the North and South Dagon Townships, have started to see a similar scheduling.

“The power was likely cut at 5am, because I have to get up at 6 to get to work. Both my husband and I leave for work and my parents take care of our daughter. When I called, they said that the power hadn’t come back on since then. Now, it’s 7pm and the power still isn’t back. It will probably be back at the set time of 9pm,” said a working mother living in North Dagon Township.

Also on May 2nd, there was a major system breakdown, cutting power to the whole nation for up to 2 hours at around 9pm. While most areas in major cities, such as Yangon and Mandalay, maintained power supplies, cities in more rural regions saw cuts yet again, with power only being restored early in the morning.

Myanmar was known to be struggling to provide a 24 hour supply of electricity in the summer, even before the coup, as the electricity generation infrastructure cannot keep up with the burgeoning demand for power year by year. In the monsoon season, hydropower stations manage to produce more electricity, but struggle with frequent mechanical breakdowns caused by the rain.

Bloomberg’s Myanmar bureau reported that the military government is now in talks with Russia, in an attempt to resolve the electricity supply problem.

The article, posted on April 29th, reported that the de facto Myanmar military spokesperson, Major General Zaw Min Tun, confirms that Myanmar is now in negotiations with Russia, amongst others, regarding the import of fuel at reasonable prices.

Myanmar also engaged in talks during April with Tatarstan, a semi-autonomous Russian republic, which included discussions on energy, particularly projects for the building of more refineries and similar projects that have been suspended, according to the same article.

Russia is one of the few countries that has maintained friendly relations and even shown support for the military government that ousted Myanmar’s civilian government in February 2021.