Aung Khant/The Myanmar Times
In a move to ensure that Tanintharyi Region’s capital Dawei continues to have electricity, the regional government has invited companies to bid for a new tender to supply electricity to the capital and surrounding area, known as Dawei district.
The regional minister for electricity and energy U Aung Thura told The Myanmar Times that the tender, covering both power generation and distribution, would be for five years or until Dawei can tap power from the national grid. Interested companies have up until August 8 to place a deposit of K30 million with the Myanmar Economic Bank.
U Aung Thura said Dawei district could get its power needs from the national grid as early as next year. He explained that the company successful in the tender would take over from GGS but would have to hand over to the national grid should coverage reaches Dawei.
Currently, the district consumes around 15 MW of electricity per year and that no estimations on future consumption have been made. U Aunt Thura said electricity usage depends on the cost to generate it, which ranges from K250 per unit to K600 per unit for the region compared to the minimum of K35 per unit in regions covered by the grid.
The new tender includes a separate agreement to be signed with Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, the state-owned oil and gas firm supplying the gas. The agreement stipulates an advance payment of one month as well as monthly payments.
The move comes after Global Grand Services Co Ltd (GGS), which distributes electricity to the region, failed to pay debt amounting to K8 billion as at February to the Union government for natural gas purchased from Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production, which was supplied to GGS through the Tanintharyi government.
The issue with GGS lies in the lack of clarity on the terms of payment for the gas. The Myanmar Times understands that a contract with the regional and Union governments was inked for the supply of gas. The regional government then provided the gas to GGS, which produced and distributed the electricity under regional permit.
An MOEE official said that under the arrangement, the regional government was expected to pay for the gas. But earlier this year, U Kyi Hlaing, Tanintharyi Region’s minister for Electricity and Energy told The Myanmar Times that the regional government merely issued the relevant permits to GGS. He said there is no exact mention in the contract signed between the Tanintharyi Region government and GGS on the terms for electricity payment and that the company is expected to pay the Union government directly. GGS, which began distributing power in Dawei in 2016, has so far not been able to do so.
“This time around, the terms are stricter. The winning firm’s one-month deposit will be returned when the permit has been awarded. Basically, if the firm cannot pay for the gas, then the regional government will have to pay. If the regional government cannot pay, then the electricity supply will be cut,” U Aung Thura said.
The Myanmar Times was not able to confirm if the Union government is still supplying gas to GGS.
U Than Win, a Dawei resident, said the Union government has neglected the region when it comes to electricity supply.
“It is the Union government’s responsibility to supply electricity to the region. We have been producing natural gas for years but we don’t get the benefit from it. It is using the gas revenue from here to subsidise other parts of the country,” he said.
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