ADB provides $60m loan to rehabilitate power distribution network in Myanmar

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing a $60m loan to Myanmar to rehabilitate sections of the country’s power distribution network.

The loan amount will help around 480,000 households in four regions to have better access to a more reliable supply of electricity to support their daily activities.

“Access to electricity is crucial to development. Repairing and strengthening existing electricity infrastructure will help reduce system losses, use resources more efficiently and connect more people to the electricity grid more quickly,” said ADB Vice President Stephen Groff.

Technical and non-technical losses from Myanmar’s aging distribution system were as high as 18.2% in 2012, meaning almost a fifth of all power generated was lost before reaching customers.

ADB’s loan will fund rehabilitation works to carry electricity more efficiently, including upgrading of existing 66/11kV and 33/11kV substations, replacing existing 33kV and 11kV distribution lines, replacing existing 11/0.4kV transformers, and upgrading to digital revenue meters.

The loan will also replace tangled knots of existing bare low voltage distribution lines with more efficient aerial-bundled conductor lines. The project will reduce distribution loss by 4 percentage points.

Improving distribution in Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing, and Magway regions should reduce system losses and subsequently provide increased opportunities for large industries and small and medium-sized enterprises to expand their services, enhance living conditions, and improve services at community facilities like clinics or schools, which should contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction.

The country’s average electrification ratio has increased, growing from 16% in 2006 to 28% in 2012. Yangon City has the highest ratio at 72%, followed by Nay Pyi Taw at 65% and Mandalay at 35%. Only about one in five rural households are connected to the electricity grid.

In addition to providing support for transmission updates and preventing technical losses, ADB is working with the National Energy Management Committee to improve coordination between ministries responsible for the country’s energy. ADB is also assisting the government in preparing Myanmar energy sector policy, revising the Electricity Law, setting the national transmission and distribution code, and establishing electric equipment standards. A 20-year, long-term energy master plan is also being formulated.

Future activities in the energy sector will also focus on promoting off-grid rural energy access and helping the government establish the public-private partnerships needed to raise the financing for power system expansion.

© EBR 2010. Part of Progressive Digital Media Group Plc