Authorities are closely watching the operations of hydropower plants across the country due to low rainfall and low water levels in dams during the recently ended rainy season, which they warn could trigger massive blackouts next summer. 

U Soe Myint, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, said the ministry will start regulating the operations of the hydropower plants to conserve water.

“The dams are not full, unlike in previous years, so we have to cut hydropower plant operations,” he said.

Water levels are low at major dams in northern Myanmar due to less rainfall this year.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation will also reduce the summer rice crop, while the Ministry of Electricity and Energy has started controlling the water flow to ensure an adequate supply for summer.

Gas power plants are also being used to supply electricity, he added.

The government is now rushing several power projects, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, to avoid a water shortage.

“The demand for electricity exceeds 1000 megawatts in summer. LNG plants are being built to meet the demand,” he said.

Hydropower plants provide 56 percent of the country’s power needs, while 41pc is supplied by thermal power plants. Only 2pc of the country’s power needs are provided by coal-fired plants.

During the summer, the demand for power could increase by as much as 500MW per day.

On Friday, 3752MW was produced, which was the most this year so far, or about 380MW more than what was produced in the same period last year.

Yangon Region consumes 1499MW a day, the most in the country, followed by Mandalay Region, which uses 638MW, and Nay Pyi Taw, 144MW. The rest of the country uses 1474MW