By Moe Moe
Naypyitaw, Myanmar, August 3, 2018
Myanmar’s people have the lowest access to electricity in Southeast Asia, according to U Myo Myint, an energy expert who helped conduct a survey on the issue for the World Bank.
“About 70 percent of households in Myanmar get electricity from either the national grid or other sources outside the grid for only around 2 hours per day,” U Myo Myint said Tuesday during a workshop held in Naypyitaw on the Multi-Tier Framework (MTF) global survey.
The MTF for measuring energy access was developed as part of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, in response to the shortcomings of the older binary assessments, in which a household was either defined as having access to electricity or not.
The framework measures energy access using a multi-tiered-spectrum, which ranges from Tier 0 (no access) to Tier 5 (the highest level of access).
According to the World Bank survey, the electricity access of about 70 percent of households in Myanmar stands at Tier 1, U Myo Myint said.
“In Tier 0, people use only candles and oil lamps. In Tier 5, they have access to 24-hour electricity,” he explained.
The government supplies electricity through a power grid as well as a solar power system being implemented with the assistance of the World Bank, said Rural Development Department Director U Maung Win.
However, users have to pay 10 percent of the cost of installing a solar system, and many people cannot afford that, he said.
According to the MTF survey, of the 70 percent of Myanmar households with access to electricity, about 30 percent get their power from sources outside the national grid.
The survey aims to measure how small and heavy industries have developed after they gain access to electricity, U Myo Myint said.
Around 85 percent of urban households get electricity from the national grid while 60 percent of rural households get power from sources outside the grid, the survey found.
The World Bank conducted the MTF survey in 15 countries including Myanmar last year to measure global progress towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7, which aims to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services by 2030.
The survey was completed in September last year. The government has been implementing the National Electrification Project to increase electricity access in off-grid areas since 2015. It also aims to provide electricity access to all households in Myanmar by 2030.