Govt seeks MP approval for urgent gas turbine purchase


NAY PYI TAW — The government has asked parliament for urgent funds to buy a portable 25-megawatt generator to help meet Yangon’s power needs for the coming hot season.

Deputy Minister for Electricity and Energy Dr Tun Naing told lawmakers on March 13 that the generator would cost about K30 billion and be able to run on both diesel and natural gas. The deputy minister said the government planned to purchase the TM 2500+ mobile gas turbine, which is produced by American multinational General Electric.

Tun Naing said the Yangon Region government had asked the President’s Office on February 28 to use its Union Reserve Fund to buy the generator because of concerns that existing capacity would not meet demand in April and May. The government considered the purchase to be “an indispensible, special case”, the deputy minister added.

As Frontier recently reported, Yangon residents are likely to face electricity shortages during the coming hot season because the government has not concluded contracts for emergency power supply despite holding a tender last year.

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The government had previously planned to have two separate 300-megawatt emergency power sources in place by summer, when demand spikes and production from the country’s hydropower dams drops sharply.

But several government officials have confirmed that the power purchase agreements with the private power suppliers have still not been signed.

The mobile generator will operate for about five hours a day when demand is at its peak. It will operate on diesel except while gas turbines at stations in Yangon are being repaired. At those times, natural gas supplies will be diverted to the mobile generator.

Because of the urgency, the government has decided not to call a tender. Tun Naing said that it would instead be purchased through a “government-to-government” deal, with a company called Yangon Firm Co Ltd as an intermediary. Tun Naing said Yangon Firm is majority owned by the Yangon Region government, but Frontier could not find it on the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration’s index of registered companies.

Lawmakers are expected to discuss the proposal later this week.

By Nyan Hlaing Lynn

By Nyan Hlaing Lynn

Nyan Hlaing Lynn is a former editor at People's Age Journal and Mizzima. He writes about politics, the military, ethnic conflict and social issues and is based in Nay Pyi Taw.
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