Senior officials from Electricite Du Laos (EDL) have warned members of the public to take extra precautions and check the condition of their household electrical wiring systems to avoid an overload.
If anyone is worried or suspects their old wiring is substandard or dangerous they can ask officials to do a check to avoid explosions or fires, Director of EDL’s Vientiane Power Distribution Department, Mr Mixay Chittalath, said.
“It is critical for all families to be aware of the risk of electrical short circuits and fires which are more likely in the hottest months of the year,” he said, adding that the first thing they need to do is to check their wiring.
His department has sent officials to each village to ensure that people are aware of appropriate power usage and how overloads can be dangerous.
Electrical problems stemming from short circuits are always blamed as the major cause of house fires, particularly from this month onwards as temperatures soar.
A recent fire in Dongpalarn village, Sisattanak district, which burned about 30 houses, was also attributed to a short circuit.
Another fire which broke out this month in Oudomxay province destroyed two houses, killing one person.
Old electrical wiring and overuse of power are the main causes of electrical fires, as a small wire that draws too much power can overheat and start to burn.
In emerging middle income society, people in Laos can afford to buy modern electrical appliances, especially air-conditioners that are used to battle the heat.
But a number of families are unaware of the fact that overuse of power from their electrical appliances can be dangerous not only in their home but also within the transmission infrastructure.
Mr Mixay said the department had tried to change some transformers to prevent power outages and exploding fuses.
He encouraged families to replace old or potentially substandard electrical wiring to ward off a dangerous incident.
According to the General Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security, there were 158 fires across the country in 2014, an increase of 14 fires compared with 2013.
Last year, fires damaged 194 houses, three factories, 751 shops, 22 apartments, one rice mill, one restaurant and a monk’s sleeping quarters.
Vientiane recorded the most fires in Laos with 86, while damages exceeded 190 billion kip. There have been several fires so far in Vientiane this year.
Source: Vientiane Times