Lao Economy

Minister Vows Stable Electricity Supply

Source: Vientiane Times

The electricity supply in various special and specific economic zones has been stable, enabling factories to operate smoothly, a minister has said.

Minister of Energy and Mines DrKhammanyInthilath outlined the situation to local media recently. He admitted that foreign investors, notably Japanese and Korean companies who were considering shifting their production bases to Laos, had inquired about the stability of the electricity supply.

He said power stations had been constructed to manage electricity systematically and ensure a stable supply of power in the zones.

Generally, electricity outside the zones is unstable with some places, including Vientiane, occasionally experiencing power cuts for many hours, especially when linesmen repair or replace electricity facilities.

The minister said power was unstable because transmission lines from various generating plants were still not connected to the national grid.

To stabilise the power supply in general, DrKhammany said the government had put considerable investment into the ongoing development of nationwide transmission lines to integrate and link the electricity generated by various power plants. By doing so the power could be balanced, notably during the dry season when demand is high.

A bigger transmission line of 500-kilovolts was being built. Smaller transmission lines of 230kV, 115kV and 22kV would be expanded, while improvements were planned for various power stations, the minister said.

So far, there are 42 power generating plants (each with installed capacity of 1MW and more) that have been operational with a combined installed capacity of 6,390MW. But the transmission lines from these plants have still not been connected to bigger transmission lines.

“We are accelerating the installation of larger transmission lines,” DrKhammany said.

He added that construction of several hydropower plants in the north of Laos had just been finished, which would help to stabilise the power supply.

These include Nam-Ou II, Nam Ou V, Nam OU VI, Nam Khan II and Nam Khan III, which have combined installed capacity of 730MW.

The government will strive to complete construction of 12 hydropower plants this year, according to the 2017 socio-economic development plan.

In addition, the government plans to build three more coal-fired power plants – one in Huaphan province with construction expected to start early this year and finish in 2019, and another two in Xekong province.