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Thursday, December 27, 2007

President attends Xekhaman 3 hydro ceremony

President Choummaly Sayasone and his wife, along with senior Lao and Vietnamese officials, took part in a ‘river closing' ceremony on Thursday as part of the construction of the Xekhaman 3 hydropower plant, in Dakcheung district, Xekong province.

With the changing of the course of the river, the water will now flow into the tunnel leading to the dam.

The ceremony was hosted by the Viet-Lao Power Joint Stock Company, which signed an agreement with the Lao government for the project in 2006 and will concede the project for a period of 30 years.

Lao Standing Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and project representatives also attended the ceremony.

“This project highlights the special solidarity and cooperation between our Parties and nations, at the same time contributing to socio-economic development and the eradication of poverty in Laos ,” said Mr Somsavat at the ceremony.

He observed that the plant was the largest investment in hydropower between Laos and Vietnam ; it would bring in considerable revenue for the state and lead to the development of infrastructure in the rural areas.

“ Laos and Vietnam cooperated in fighting common aggressors during the Indochina War; now we are working together to develop our two countries,” he said.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said the Lao and Vietnamese governments had a contract for cooperation in the field of electricity generation, with Laos agreeing to supply Vietnam with 3,000MW by 2020.

“An abundance of natural resources has given Laos tremendous opportunity. Rivers enable Laos to harness hydropower with a capacity of some 23,000MW, generating 100 billion kWh of energy,” he said.

As well as this project, Vietnam will continue to cooperate with Laos in the investment and development of the Xekhaman 1, Xekhaman 4 and other hydropower projects in Laos .

Song Da Corporation of Vietnam is building the dam, which is scheduled for completion in 2009.

“So far, construction work on the Xekhaman 3 project is about 30 percent complete,” said the Director General of Song Da Corporation, Mr Duong Khanh Toan.

The plant is costing US$273 million, with a capacity of 250MW and will generate 1 billion kWh of energy per year for export to Vietnam . Laos holds a 15 percent share in the project.

Laos entered into an agree ment with Vietnam for the production of hydroelectric power in July 1998 and plans to export about 2,000MW of power to Vietnam between 2003 and 2010.

The Deputy Director General of the Energy Promotion and Development Department of the Ministry of Energy and Mines said in June that the government's development plans specify that Laos will complete 29 hydroelectric power development schemes, with a total installed capacity of 8,657MW.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Laos, Japan agree on hydroelectric power project

25/12/2007 -- 4:17 PMVientiane (VNA) – The Lao government and Japan’s electric company Kaisai have agreed to cooperate in building a 60.8 MW hydro-electric power plant in Champassak province of Laos.

Under the agreement, the Lao side will contribute 25 percent of the total investment capital and prepare space for the construction of the Kotam hydroelectric power plant.

Meanwhile, Kaisai will be responsible in building a storage tank for the plant by funds provided by the Japanese government.

According to the Japanese company, the construction of the 30-year-project is scheduled to finish in 2015. The plant is expected to start its operation to export power to Thailand in the same year. –Enditem

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Laos-Thailand further cooperation on electricity production

(KPL) Dr Bosaikham Vongdala, Minister of Energy and mines of Laos PDR and Dr Piyasavat Amaranan, Minister of Energy of the Kingdom of Thailand signed on 22 December in Vientiane a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further their co-operation on electricity development.
Under the MoU signed in Vientiane last week, Thailand will buy from Laos 5,000 MW in 2015 and 7,000 MW in following years.
To realise the plan, the Lao government will build a series of power plants, mainly hydro-electricity plants. The 615MW Nam Ngum power plant and the 1,070MW Nam Theun power plant 2 are under construction to serve export of electricity to Thailand.
Existing 11 large-scaled and 40 small-scaled power plants in Laos have a combined capacity of 670MW, meeting demands for the domestic production and consumption and export.
The Lao government also set up a plan to export 3,000MW of electricity to Viet Nam by 2020. The meet the target, the country has to build 29 more large-scaled power plants with a total capacity of nearly 9,000 MW.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hydropower project awaits permission

The feasibility study and road design for the Namkong 1 hydropower project in Attapeu province has now been completed, according to the project's director.
“We submitted the results of the feasibility study to the government this month, and we're now waiting for permission to proceed,” said the Director of the Region Hydropower Stations Lao Co Ltd, Mr Vasily Morgun, in an interview during a meeting on environmental and social impacts last Friday in Vientiane.
He explained that the results of the feasibility study will be the most important part of the project in its initial stages, before it can move on to the construction phase.
Further agreements to be reached will include those relating to concessions and project development. The company will also have to sign an agreement on the establishment of a joint venture with the government.
“We hope we will get permission to proceed with the project by November next year, the same time we hope to get permission for our Xekong 4 hydroelectric power project in Xekong province,” Mr Morgun said.
The company hopes to start the construction of Namkong 1 at soon as it receives permission and, if the project is on schedule, it should begin generating power in 2013.
The Namkong 1 will have an installation capacity of 150MW to generate energy mainly for export; the project directors of the Region Oil Company of Russia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government in December 2005.
The company also completed designs for a road to the project area, and has already asked for permission to begin building it.
“We will begin construction immediately once we get permission,” Mr Morgun said.
Currently the investment cost of the Namkong 1 is known only to the government and the investor, but Mr Morgun says the company may spend up to 16 trillion kip (US$1.7 billion) on Namkong 1, Sekong 4 and Sekong 5 combined.
The Deputy Head of the Water Resources and Environment Administration, Mr Noulinh Sinhbandhit, said the Namkong 1 dam would be 85 metres high and 379 metres long, and its reservoir will be about 21.8 square kilometres.
“According to the study, we can see that the impacts will be less significant than those of other hydropower projects,” Mr Noulinh said.
Friday's meeting was organised to discuss environmental and social effects, including forests and fisheries, villagers and historical sites.
“The hydropower sector is now booming in Laos, which is why the government now has policies and regulations to study the negative effects and find ways avoid them as much as possible,” Mr Noulinh said.

By Phonsavanh Vongsay (Latest Update December 18, 2007)

NT2 hydropower plant progress assessed

The Nam Theun 2 (NT2) hydropower project in Khammuan province is continuing to manage social and environmental impacts as construction progresses.
Work on the dam began in 2005 and, based on a 5-year timeline, is on schedule while the social and environmental programmes that are based on a longer timeline of up to 12 years are continuing to make progress.
“Currently the project is about 70 percent complete,” said the Director General of the Energy Promotion and Development Department, Mr Xaypaseuth Phomsoupha.
He was speaking on Friday during an interview at the World Bank (WB) briefing on the NT2 semi-annual update at the bank's office in Vientiane, with a video link to Bangkok, Thailand.
Work completed to date includes the resettlement of villagers, construction of the main dam, excavations and the powerhouse.
“We are now waiting for the installation of the machinery,” Mr Xaypaseuth said.
The project is currently installing a 500kV transmission line, 135km long, from the powerhouse to Savannakhet province.
“This installation will be finished by the end of next year,” Mr Xaypaseuth said.
According to the joint WB and Asian Development Bank (ADB) report, significant progress has been made in ensuring the proper resettlement of 6,200 villagers from 17 villages who have had to move from the area that will eventually be the reservoir on the Nakai Plateau.
A third of the new houses are complete, with new roads, water pumps, toilets, schools and electricity all in place. Construction of the remaining houses and facilities is well advanced and expected to be completed by May 2008.
About 200 villagers already have electricity in their homes for the first time, as well as new, all-weather roads that connect them to towns and villages nearby.
“The full relocation process will be completed before impoundment can begin in August,” Mr Xaypaseuth said.
Villagers being resettled are also in the process of developing new livelihoods with a focus on agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishing. Activities include rice farming, seasonal crops, fruit trees, pig and frog raising, livestock, forest products and subsistence fishing in the future reservoir.
People who used to make US$410 per household a year in 2005, will be making at least US$820 per household a year by 2012, he predicted.
The semi-annual update is a joint report by the WB and ADB on the implementation of the hydropower project. The objective of the briefing was to share the assessment of the World Bank and ADB on the progress, issues and activities of the project with the government, donors, NGOs and the public.
The next joint WB/ADB report is expected to be issued ahead of reservoir impoundment in June 2008.
The project is an investment of more than 11.8 trillion kip (US$1.2 billion) and will have an installed capacity of 1,070MW with six generators for local supply and export.
The hydropower plant is a joint venture between the Lao government, which holds 25 percent of shares, and foreign investors holding a 75 percent stake. The WB and the ADB are two of 27 financing parties.

By Phonsavanh Vongsay (Latest Update December 17, 2007)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Solar energy empowers schoolchildren

Children using the Youth Development Centre at Phonsinuane Primary School in Vientiane are singing and dancing under bright lights, thanks to the generosity of a local company.
More than 100 pupils at the school can now read Lao storybooks, do art projects and perform concerts at the centre in their free time.
The Youth Development Centre was built last year to provide children at the school as well as those living nearby with a place to go in their spare time. But when it was built, it had no electricity.
The school sent letters to companies hoping for donations, explaining how many of the school's activities were based around the centre, but were limited without a proper power supply, said the school's Director, Ms Phanomvieng Noypiewphan.
One recipient of the letter, Sunlabob Energy Company, which specialises in solar power, responded by donating several solar-electric panels.
Since the panels have been installed, a new enthusiasm has grown throughout the community, with teachers and students seeing the centre as the start of a new life for the school.
“The centre is not only a valuable resource for schoolchildren here, but for children in nearby villages,” said Ms Phanomvieng.
Activities at the centre take place between 3 and 4 pm from Monday to Friday and during free time in school, and also from 9 am to 4 pm on weekends.
By Khonesavanh Saymoungkhoune (Latest Update November 22, 200

Monday, November 19, 2007

a battery for the region

Much of Laos' FDI will go into turning the country into what it calls "a battery for the region", through a series of dams that will generate power for sale to its neighbours.
Major investors in Laos' hydropower and infrastructure industries include China's Sinohydro Corp and Datang International Power, Thailand's Banpu and Italian-Thai Development, and Vietnam's Song Da Group and Petrovietnam.
Companies from Western countries investing in Laos include Australia's Oxiana, French electricity group EDF, and London-listed Salamander Energy.
Laos currently has the capacity to produce 600 megawatts of hydropower, of which 200 megawatt are exported.
But Bouphavanh said the country has the potential to produce up to 28,000 megawatt of hydropower from the Mekong River and the 16 Mekong tributaries within Laos borders.
It has already commited to supply 7,000 megawatts to Thailand, 5,000 megawatts to Vietnam, and 1,500 megawatts to Cambodia by 2015, he added. read all from REUTERS

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seset 2 Hydropower Dam completes by almost 60 %

Seset 2 Hydropower Dam completes by almost 60 %
(KPL) The Seset 2 Hydropower Dam Development Project, located on the upper Seset river, 12 km away from Seset 1 in Lao Ngam district of Saravane province, has been completed by 57 per cent of the construction work. Mr Thongsay Bounthisavath, deputy-director of Energy and Mining Service of the southern Saravane province, said that Seset 2 had an installed capacity of 76 megawatts, and average generation capacity of 309 million kilowatts per hour. The state electricity enterprise Electricite du Laos signed a construction contract for Seset 2 development with Norinco Company of China in 2004. Commencing in August 2005, the work is expected to be completed by June 2009. The contract costs US$135 million, in which US$117 million is for construction work.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Vientiane distribution network rehabilitation in 1999

In 1999 the second rehabilitation project for Vientiane distribution network launched.
Under the assistance of France's government, the ETDE company ( France's company) was assigned to this project.

The bare conductor was replaced by partial insulated conductor for medium voltage. Some overhead line had gone underground.
Four wire aerial network was replaced by twisted cables for low voltage network.
The poles and transformer posts remain unchanged.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Oudomxay to increase electric users by 18 per cent

(KPL) A northern province Oudomxay has planned to increase the number of families accessing electricity by 18 per cent in the two years coming.
According to its plan a two-year project, launched year end, will be carried out in seven districts across the province by installing low and medium high voltage power grid, and transformers.
Heuangpaseuth Power Grid Construction and Electric Installation Co., has been authorised by the province to carry out the 70.8 billion kip project, run through a loan from the government of China.
Activities of the project include the installation of 22 kv power grid, long 267 km length, 0.4 kv power grid long 90 km, and the installation of 95 transformers including four 250-kva, seventeen 100-kva, fifty five 50-kva, and nineteen 30-kva transformers.
Signatories to agreement on the construction and installation on 24 October in the province were Head of Energy and Mines Service of Oudomxay, Mr. Khamphan Phonthasin, and Director of Heuangpaseuth Power Grid Construction and Electric Installation Co., Mr. La Khamdy.
The event was witnessed by Party Central Committee, and also the governor of the province, Dr. Bounpone Bouttanavong, his deputy and authorities of the seven districts.
“Only 20 per cent of the province’ population have accessed electricity so far, which is too small figure as compared to those of other provinces,” said Governor Khamphan.
The company said that if the project completed the province would have the number of electric users in 95 villages, totally housing over 43,000 people, increased by 18%, and it would also contribute to the agriculture production, and other income generation of the locals.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Theun-Hinboun hydropower dam to increase capacity production


(KPL) The Theun-Hinboun Power Company will expand its capacity production of electricity to 500 MW from 200 MW by constructing more hydropower dam along Nam Youang river.
The Nam Nguang river is located at upper part of Thuen-Hinboun river which will be released to Thuen-Hinboun hydropower dam.
A memorandum of understanding on developing the Thuen-Hinboun hydropower expansion project, was signed this month between Theun-Hinboun Power Company and the Lao Government.
The Nam Nguang hydropower construction project is 700 metres north of Ban Thatsala village of Khamkuet district is opposite of Viengthong district in Bolikhamsay province.
At present the construction of dam have progressed many fields and it is a high possible for the construction next year.
A coordinator project of Thuen Hinboun Power Company, Mr Bounma Molakhasouk said on 18 October that the project has so far paid attention to conduct a survey and other data collection of environment impact and resettlement.
The Theun Hinboun Hydropower dam produced in 1998 but the Theun Hinboun Power Company has decided to expand its project due to the Nam Theun 2-dam construction which cause to the water level of Theun Hinboun dam decreased.
The preparation will kick off early 2008 till to September the construction will be conducted and it expects to be completed by 2010.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Govt body to regulate energy facilities

Compliance with the Lao Electrical Power Technical Standard (LEPTS) will soon be assured at power facilities across the country through the establishment of a new regulatory body.

“The LEPTS regulatory unit is key to securing the sustainable implementation of the standard,” said the First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy to Laos , Mr Ken Nakamura, at a launch seminar for the unit in Vientiane last week.

He added that having the unit would accelerate compliance to the standard by electricity companies.

“I would like all electrical facilities to apply the LEPTS in the near future,” Mr Nakamura said.

Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Somboun Rasasombath, commented that compliance with the standard would contribute to the improvement of investment transparency in Laos .

At the seminar participants took part in activities related to the implementation of the standard, including examining example documents and learning to inspect facilities.

“This will enable us to provide electricity to the people of Laos and to neighbouring countries safely,” Mr Somboun said.

There are currently over 30 independent power producer projects at various stages of planning and construction in Laos , the biggest being Nam Theun 2.

“I hope the LEPTS will be applied to these projects under the guidance of the regulatory unit,” said Mr Nakamura.

The standard will also apply to domestic power transmission equipment, such as the 115kV transmission line from Pakxan district in Borikhamxay province to Pakbo village in Savannakhet province.

“This project, which will comply with LETPS, has a significant role in extending the national grid,” said Mr Somboun.

The launch of the regulatory unit was a defining moment as it was the first time a permanent official body in the Lao government had been established in accordance with technical assistance from another country, in this case the Japanese government.

Mr Nakamura said that electricity was a driving force for development in Laos , and the energy sector has two important roles in exporting electricity to the region and satisfying growing domestic needs.

Step 1 of the project to formulate standards in the power industry began in 2000 and ended in 2003, and saw the compilation of manuals detailing the standards, in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The standard came into effect in February 2004. The second step, again supported by JICA, was to develop capacity, improve documentation and establish the regulatory body. Work on this phase began in January 2005 and will be complete in March next year.

By Phonsavanh Vongsay
(Latest Update October 16, 2007)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nam Ou hydro project moves to next phase

Sinohydro Corporation Ltd of China signed a development agreement with the Lao government on Monday for the Nam Ou Hydropower Project in Phongsaly and Luang Prabang provinces.
The Assistant Managing Director of Sinohydro Corporation Ltd, Mr Shen Decai ( left ), and the Vice President of the Committee for Planning and Investment, Mr Thongmy Phomvixay, shake hands after signing the agreement.
Director General of the Electricity Department Mr Houmphone Bulyaphol said at the signing that the project would cost between 6.7 trillion and 7.7 trillion kip (US$700 to 800 million).
The dam will be a joint venture between the Chinese company and the Lao government, which will hold 20 to 25 percent of the share.
“The investor will begin construction in 2009 with completion scheduled for 2015,” said an official from the Committee for Planning and Investment.
The company has completed a one-year feasibility study for the project and is currently analysing the potential environmental impacts before construction begins.
“Once the work is completed, the project will have an installation capacity of about 500 to 600MW,” said Mr Houmphone.
The project will sell 50 to 70MW of this to Electricite du Laos (EDL), and the rest is likely to be exported to Thailand or China . “The company is now discussing with EDL how much power they need to buy for domestic consumption,” Mr Houmphone said.
The Chinese company will operate the project for 30 years, including the construction period.
The Assistant Managing Director of Sinohydro Corporation Ltd, Mr Shen Decai, said the project was part of strategies to help supply energy to the Mekong sub-region as well as to Asean countries.
“It is also a project to create further belief in investment in Laos ,” Mr Shen added.
Mr Houmphone said this would be the biggest of four hydropower projects on the Nam Ou, all of which would be developed by the same company.
“Once these four dams are built, they will have a total installation capacity of about 1,300MW,” Mr Houmphone said.

By Phonsavanh Vongsay (Latest Update October 17, 2007)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Lignite Power Plant in Sayaboury in progress

(KPL) More than 300 families in five villages living near Hongsa Lignite Power Plant Construction Project site in Xayaboury province might be removed to new resettlement area if the agreement on electricity purchasing reached between investor and purchaser at the end of this year.The Hongsa Lignite Power Plant Construction Project has been invested by Hongsa Company since 2006 but now the construction work is suspended due to deficiency of finance. At the moment, the Hongsa Lignite Power Plant Construction Project has been taken over by the Ban Pou Company of Thailand after Hongsa Company has announced to suspend this project. Before carrying out the survey of feasibility study, developers of the Lignite Power Plant in Xayaboury Province has pledged to provide with about US$16 million to compensate to affecting villagers for resettlement areas. Mr. Sao Khamchan, Head of Energy and Mines Office of Xayaboury province disclosed yesterday that the Lignite Power Plant Construction Project is having a disputation between owner project and customer.The negotiation of purchasing the electricity from the Hongsa Power Plant is being under the discussion, he continued.If the project does not meet agreement the construction work would be sure delayed. Now two sides are discussing on mutual benefit bases on mutual understanding and cooperation in effectively that reflected to positively target plan on supplying the electricity by 2013. The Lignite Power Plant in Xayaboury province was invested by Thai investor, with an expectation of investment approximately more than US$1 billion with capacity production of 1,200 Megawatt.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vientiane's street lighting

Today let's come back to my life's story. I told about the story of my work in Luang Prabang in 1993 to 1997 in the previous articles. Now I will tell you about my work in Vientiane. In 1997 Laos capital was called Vientiane prefecture. The street lighting in the capital was not improved since 1975. In the capital street light could be seen in a few main roads. The roads were also not in good condition.

That year there was a big plan for road improvement as well as street lighting. My company was hired for street lighting design for six roads. At that time I worked as an AutoCAD draftsman. I began to get acquainted to new terms like: street lighting lamp, street lighting fixture, hand holes, ... I had opportunity to work with French specialists who told me how they design street lighting in France.

Now the improvements of many roads in that project was completed together with new street lighting with yellow light replacing the old street lighting lamp with white color light.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

EDL offers help with problem bills

Electricity users are welcome to check their bills at the office of the Electricite du Laos (EDL) if they have any queries, an official from the enterprise said on Monday.
EDL staff are there to help consumers solve problems if they feel anything on their monthly electricity bill is not clear, Mr Somphone said.
“We have full information on all electricity bill payments from 2003 to 2007,” he said.
Many people come to ask staff at EDL about the rates charged for the electricity they consume in a particular month, especially if the amount of power they consume seems to be the same as normal.
Mr Duangphachanh, a resident of Dongsavad village in Sisattanak district, Vientiane , is one such person.
He said he regularly paid about 140,000 kip per month from January to July this year, but last month received a bill for 900,000 kip.
“I was shocked when I received the bill,” he said.
He said he did not understand why his bill was so high, as he had not bought any extra electrical appliances for use in his house.
He called the electricity office to check his metre, and the staff who came said the device was working fine. They advised him to check with the EDL office.
When he did so, he was told he had not paid his bill for the past two months. He looked into the matter further and received a different answer.
“I was told that the bill for August should not be 900,000 kip, but 500,000 kip,” he said.
However, he had already paid the 900,000 kip as stated. “I'm still investigating the matter with EDL,” he said.
He said it was possible that charges could rise from 140,000 to 900,000 kip if electrical appliances or wiring was old and malfunctioning.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao (Latest Update September 04, 2007)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Energy production to drop

EDL hopes to increase the energy supply in affected areas by other means

Electricite du Laos (EDL) reported last week that electricity generation would decrease during the remainder of this year, compared to the planned output for this fiscal year.
Mr Khamphone Saignasane.

The company had planned to produce more than 1.5 billion GWh this year, but the real generation may only reach about 1.48 billion GWh, which is about 98.7 percent of the plan.

“A reduction is likely because there is not enough water to contribute to the power generation required for the many hydropower plants,” said the General Manager of EDL, Mr Khamphone Saignasane, at the first semester meeting of the company in Vientiane on Friday.

The plants include the country's main dams that have large reservoirs, such as Nam Ngum 1 and Nam Leuk in Vientiane province.

“There are about eight plants for which electricity generation is predicted to go down,” said the EDL Planning and Procurement Office Manager, Mr Daopheng Simmavongsouthivong, by telephone yesterday.

Over the next six months, when power generation is reduced, the purchase of electricity from neighbouring countries and local plants is expected to rise correspondingly.

The company may spend about 191 billion kip (over US$20 million) to buy about 450 million GWh from other countries.

“The spending will be over that planned by about 19 percent,” Mr Khamphone said.

The countries that typically sell the energy to Laos include Thailand , Vietnam and China .

It will also buy roughly 13 million GWh from local private power producers at a cost of about 5.7 billion kip (US$602,000), which will also represent an increase in the planned budget.

The plants selling the energy to EDL include the Theun Hinboun plant in Khamkeuth district, Borikhamxay province and the Houay Ho facility in Attapeu and Champassak province.

The company will not only increase the buying of energy, but also plans to increase the supply of electricity for local use and for export over the next six months.

It hopes to export electricity at a cost of over 143 billion kip (about US$15 million), representing an 18 percent increase in the predicted budget.

“We hope the figure will increase as the rains intensify to provide the water for the plants to generate the energy required for the next six months,” Mr Khamphone said.

EDL also plans to increase local sales, which are expected to generate about 665 billion kip – a figure that is also a little higher than normal, by about 0.5 percent.

Laos plans for at least 70 percent of the population to have access to electricity in 2010, and 90 percent in 2020.

Laos currently has 11 major and 40 smaller hydro power plants generating energy for both domestic and export markets. They have a combined installation capacity of more than 670MW and generate about 3.5 billion kWh per year, of which about 2.2 billion kWh is exported to Thailand .

By 2020, there will be 29 major hydroelectric power development schemes in place, with a total capacity of 8,657MW.

By Phonsavanh Vongsay
(Latest Update August 21, 2007)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Electricite de France’s delegation calls on PM Bouasone

Electricite de France’s delegation calls on PM Bouasone
(KPL) Deputy President of Electricite de France, Mr Luc Jacquet and his delegation on 9 August paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Mr Bouasone Boupphavanh.
During the talk held at Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Jacquet expressed thanks to PM Bouasone for his warm welcome offered to him and his delegation and he also informed the implementation of Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in the first six months of 2007 to Prime Minister.
PM Bouasone highly valued the visit of the guest and his delegation which would contribute to the enhancement of the relations and cooperation between Laos and Electricite de France.
PM also expressed thanks to Mr Jacquet for his active contribution to the implementation of Nam Theun 2 hydropower project and hoped the project would achieve its plan.

Friday, August 10, 2007

56% of households expected to have access to electricity by 2008

(KPL) By the 2007-2008 period, the Government of the Lao PDR will strive to expand the yield of electricity and mining by 11.08% over the 2006-2007 period’s, while boosting the exportation to US$ 1.01 billion, a rise over the previous year by one fold..For the hydropower production, efforts will be made to turn out 3,720.4 million KWh, an increase of 1.01 million KWh, in which 1,355.18 million KWh will be for domestic consumption valued at US$ 66.45 million and 2,280.37 million KWh for export bringing in US$ 86.09 million. The government will also concentrate on the electrification to cover 56% of household nationwide.
The Government will also continue to support the construction of hydro power projects, especially the Nam Theune II Hydro power project , Sexet II, Nam Ngum II and Sekhamane II and other major projects.
The government will also continue the negotiation on the selling price of the electricity produced the hydro power projects of Nam Ngieb I, Sepien, Se Namnoi Theun-Hinboun, and continue to construct the high voltage electric grid..
In the mining sector, the Government will strive to boost the production growth by 13.31%, over the previous year to account for 85% of the whole sector’s gross value

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Nam Theun 2 an example for future dams

The Nam Theun 2 hydropower project is one of the most studied in the world, World Bank Country Manager Mr Patchamuthu Illangovan said during a stakeholders' forum, held in Khammuan last week.

He explained that in terms of its irrigation action, this project was state-of-the-art, and would be one of the best examples for future hydroelectric development, not only in Laos but in many other countries as well.

The Second Annual Stakeholder's Forum, held over three days, was sponsored by the Lao government and the Nam Theun 2 Power Company.

It aimed at providing a progress report and giving participants the opportunity to view first-hand the construction phase, village resettlements and livelihood development activities.

The government and company, in turn, had the opportunity to gather feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including representatives of local and international non-government organisations (NGOs), local and foreign media representatives, the diplomatic corps, local government officials, academics, financial institutions and international organisations.

In regards to recent statements made by an NGO critical of the project, the International Rivers Network (IRN), a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mr Yong Chanthalangsy, said “Our commitment to ensuring people benefit from this project and that concerns from all parties are promptly addressed, have been presented these past three days.”

“It is unfortunate that organisations like IRN continue to misrepresent information to the public and make exaggerated claims that offer no contribution to the improvement of this project,” he said.

The Minister of Energy and Mines, Dr Bosaikham Vongdara, opened the forum and welcomed participants by explaining that Nam Theun II was a development project, directly contributing to poverty alleviation in Laos.

The first day featured presentations from various government and company representatives, as well as NGOs working on the project and villagers impacted by the dam.

Presentations covered all aspects of the project, including construction, resettlement activities, livelihood development programmes across the project area, health programmes, biomass clearance, salvage logging, wildlife protection and revenue management arrangements, among others.

Question-and-answer sessions provided an opportunity for stakeholders to get further information, share their concerns with the government and the company, and get feedback.

“This is a complex project covering three distinct areas, and we wanted to provide comprehensive information to update stakeholders on the progress made thus far and the measures we are taking to ensure all the social and environmental impacts are effectively mitigated,” said the Chief Operating Officer of the Nam Theun 2 Power Company, Mr Bernard Tribollet.

On the second day, more than 50 vehicles, including buses, vans, trucks and cars in caravan carrying passengers from more than 350 national and international stakeholders and representatives from local and overseas media organisations, visited the project site.

Some groups went directly to see the downstream tunnel, which will release water into the Xe Bang Fai River and then drove along the stream channel to see the power station.

After a question-and-answer session about the progress of the power station, they drove to Nakai Plateau. Nam Theun 2 project officials guided visitors to see the construction of the water intake tunnel, which will release water to generate electricity.

After lunch the visitors headed to the resettlement village of Sop-on to see the progress of house construction and to interview villagers. Various foreign media representatives interviewed women and the village head to get a first-hand account of their experience throughout the process.

The village head explained that the villagers had been involved in up to 95 percent of the decision-making process, including where to move and what their houses would look like. When asked how he viewed his life in the new village, he said his village was “seeing the light of a better future”.

On the third day, Nam Theun 2 officials guided visitors on a visit to the old and new resettled villages of Sop-hiar, Nakai Tai and Nakai Neua, before returning to visit the power houses and villages along the downstream channel and along Xe Bang Fai River in Nhommalath district, where they would see the project's impact.

According to project officials, these villages have flooded every year during the rainy season, and once the Nam Theun 2 project was finished, this would no longer occur because the dam would be regulated to control and release water into the Xe Bang Fai River.

With more than two thirds of the villages resettled and livelihood development activities well underway, the project is on track to meet its target of starting operations in December 2009.

Dam construction, planned over a four-year period, is more than 50 percent complete, while the livelihood development activities and other social and environmental programmes have a longer timeline, spanning eight to 10 years.

“It's important to keep in mind that while dam construction and social and environmental activities are increasingly better synchronised, the timeline of these is different, and the livelihood and other social and environmental programmes are set to continue well beyond the completion of dam construction,” explained the Deputy Director for the Environmental and Social Division at the company, Mr Olivier Salignat.

Nam Theun 2 is a 1,070 megawatt US$1.25 billion hydropower project. Revenues, set to begin flowing in 2010, are estimated to reach US$2 billion over the 25-year concession period.

The project will greatly contribute to the government's poverty alleviation efforts and will benefit the 6,200 people who are being resettled and are beginning to take advantage of improved infrastructure, livelihoods and access to social services.

The project is also in the process of developing sustainable livelihoods for 70,000 people in areas downstream of the project, as well as providing employment opportunities for more than 6,500 local people.

The Nam Theun 2 project is the largest cross-border hydroelectric project to be built in Laos for selling electricity to Thailand . This hydropower proje ct is one of the 10 largest hydropower projects in the Asean region, said the General Manager of Lao Holding State Enterprise, Dr Somboune Manolom.

Electricite de France owns 35 percent of the shares, 25 percent are owned by Electricite du Laos, 25 percent by the Electricity Generating Public Company Limited of Thailand and 15 percent by the Italian-Thai Development Public Company Limited of Thailand .

By Vientiane Times
(Latest update July 2, 2007)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The main power supply of Laos.

In 1997 I returned to Vientiane from Luang Prabang. These two cities and others Laos' and a few Thailand's cities are supplied by the electric power from one source, Nam Ngum dam.

Nam Ngum Dam was the LPDR’s first hydro dam. It was financed with assistance from ten countries, under the auspices of the United Nations. It was constructed by a Japanese firm and was completed in 1971. The dam has a generating capacity of 150 megawatts.

Nam Ngum Dam generates most of Laos' electricity, including all the power used in the capital, Vientiane. Even more important is the 70 to 80 per cent of electricity that is exported to Thailand, accounting for about a quarter of Laos' foreign exchange earnings. While bringing in significant foreign exchange earnings, Nam Ngum is economically questionable on several counts. Between 1982 and 1992, electricity generated and exported declined, a result uncorrelated to rainfall. Its revenues have not been enough to cover the cost of repairs, most of which has been covered by Japanese aid. Already apparent is the fact that its watershed will require significant ongoing financial and management input.

Nam Ngum Dam is a resource user in a number of respects. The reservoir occupies what used to be fertile land and forest, and communities affected by flooding continue to suffer direct and indirect consequences a quarter of a century later. Nam Ngum Dam thus competes for land, forest and water resources, but also bears the consequences of resource use in other parts of the watershed.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back to Vientiane capital.

In 1997 I left Luang Prabang after 3 years experience in Transmission line and substation.
That year 1997 was a year of crisis in Southeast Asia. Before crisis 1 US$ = 700 kips and after 1US$ = 10,000 kips.
In Vientiane Prefecture (lately Vientiane Capital) I worked as a drawing draft man for ECI, one of many branches of Electricite du Laos. ECI does the electrical installation and construction work. I prepared drawings for many projects such as Vientiane street lighting project, Second Vientiane Electrical network Rehabilitation Project and many rural electrification projects

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lightning: the main reason for power cutoff

The northern part of Laos is mountainous.
The transmission line is across the mountainous area.
The raining season in Laos is about 6 months.
Therefore the TL is under rain and thunder for haft year each year.
The lightning can cause power cutoff but in very short time but that occurs very often

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

How good if we can bring electricity to people in remote area

The distance from Vang Vieng substation to Luang Prabang substation is about 250 kilometers across the mountainous area. 22 kV distribution lines could not reach all people living between these 2 substations. Most of people are from minority tribes living in sparsely populated villages.

In the Thalat-Luang Prabang transmission line besides the normal high voltage conductors, the top wire, usually used as lightning protection wire, is supplied with 25 kV power. The villages nearby the transmission line can get electricity from that overhead wire.

The electricity obtained from that wire is transformed to low voltage single phased network. It can not be used with 3 phase motors, just for lighting.

That system is unique. It can be seen only in Laos or may be in another poorest countries. We call it shield wire system.

This 25 kV shield wire system is used along Thalat-Luang Prabang transmission line only. It provides electricity to the area where conventional 22 kV lines could not meet the internal rate of return.

There is another shield wire system which supplies 34.5 kV line on doubled overhead ground wires and gives the villagers 3 phase energy to run motors. This system came after the first and is being used in the Northern Laos while the SWER system is being used in the South.

I can answer to some of your question but not all, please discuss about this. Post your comments please.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Electricite du Laos works to address power cuts

Electricite du Laos, the country's main electricity supplier, plans to resolve the problem of recurrent power cuts in Vientiane by the end of this year.

The Deputy General Manager of Electricite du Laos, Mr Khammany Inthirath, said yesterday power cuts had been occurring repeatedly since April, due to the increasing demand for electricity which could not be met by the country's ageing system.

“We are replacing some cables in Vientiane and increasing the number of transmitters in areas where more electricity is being used,” he said.

Mr Khammany explained that as living standards are improving, more people can afford to buy electrical appliances, and the industrial sector is also growing.

The average monthly consumption of electricity in Vientiane is usually 50 million kwh, but since April it has increased to 80 million kwh.

“We will try to finish our system upgrades by the end of this year to meet these rising demands,” he said.

Mr Khammany said many of the power cuts had been due to repeated thefts of lightning conductor cables, which had damaged several transmitters. He urged the community to work hard to help prevent these thefts, by reporting any unusual activity in their areas.

In 2009, he said, Vientiane would be likely to experience further cuts, as several development projects were slated to begin in Xaythany district, and the company was working to solve this problem ahead of time.

Last year, Electricite du Laos spent around US$28 million enhancing the transmission capacity of all six electricity transformer stations in Vientiane , as well as upgrading the transmission current in the capital to prevent power cuts.

Mr Khammany said that during the dry season, several hydropower dams had reduced capacity because of lower water levels, which had resulted in the country having to buy back power from Thailand .

He added that the cost of imported power was almost the same as the revenue from exported electricity, which meant that no profit was made from these dams.

Electricity from Nam Leuk, Nam Ngum and Nam Mang dams will be used only in Vientiane , while the provinces of Borikhamxay, Savannakhet and Khammuan will use electricity from the Nam Theun 2 project.

He said the country definitely had the potential to reach its goal of becoming the ‘battery of Asia '.

“According to our surveys, there is room for the development of 70 more hydropower dams in the future, with a combined capacity of 23,000 MW,” Mr Khammany said.

“But we need to protect the environment by conserving our forests, particularly in watershed areas so that hydropower projects will have enough water to produce electricity. We have already committed to exporting 5,000 MW of electricity to Thailand by 2015, and we have to work hard to fulfil this commitment.”

Laos plans to build 29 dams by 2020, and most of the electricity produced will be exported to other countries.

By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest update June 27, 2007)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Substation Operators

  • In 1997 I went to Singapore. I had a chance to visit many Singapore substations. What I had seen was the substations were absolutely unman. They were operated and controlled from dispatching center.
  • But here in Luang Prabang substation, we control and operate manually. All kind of work is carried out by substation personnel: the operators.
  • The operators were trained in Sokpaluang training center, Vientiane capital, to be able to do strongly understand the sequence of energizing and de-energizing the substation, switching work on switch yard like opening the disconnecting switches and grounding it for safety, maintain the battery and battery charger, reset trip signal, manage signal alarm, record watthour meter reading hourly and manually.
  • There are 2 shifts per day: day shift and night shift. 2 men per shift. After 3 days working they get 3 days off. They switch from one shift to another shift every 6 days

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Luang Prabang substation

Our camp was located at Ban Phone Pheng on Phouvao Road. Everyday we rode to the substation located at a hmong village Koua Thi Neung ( First Bridge) on the North 13th road. The substaion at that time was under construction and was full of Chinese workers from the company YIETC. As I was trained to operate substation then I had no serious job until the construction was finished. I just walked around and observe the Chinese working. They speak Lao quite poor with strange accent. Most of them could not understand English except for some engineers who must use English for working with Employed by project owner a British specialist.I had an opportunity to practice both English and Chinese languages. All equipment in the substation had made in China such as 12.5 MVA power transformer, SF6 circuit breakers, relays, etc.

The construction ended at the end of 1993.

Luang Prabang substation

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Transmission line along North 13th Road 1993

In 1993 when I joined the Luang Prabang team of Thalat to Luang Prabang Transmission line Project. At that time the construction carried out by the French company -CEGELEC, was finalizing. The 115 kV transmission line started was devided to 3 sections therefore there were 3 teams: Thalat, Vang Vieng and Laung Prabang.
I was trained in Vientiane to be one of the substaion operators but since the Luang Prabang substaion which was constructed by Chinese company - YIETC was not completed yet. Then I was sent to transmission work instead of operator work.

The work for transmission team who was the representative of the project owner - Electricite du Laos was to look after the work of the contactor - CEGELEC. I often rode to the site. The road to the site - North 13th Road at that time was very hard to use, as the Vietnamese company was constructing it. Sometime we were told to stop the vehicle ( we rode on Toyota Hilux pickup) because they would use explosive to explode the cliff to widen the road. Nowaday that road is one of the road that laid on the mountainous area of Laos.

The thing I saw at site was a mountainous landscape of norther Laos. To go to the transmision line towers we needed to claimb up the mountain because of no road and our vehicle could not go further. That was the hard work for the French to construct the line across mountains of Luang Prabang.

At the end of 1993 I moved to the substation site - Luang Prabang. After the completoion of construction I worked there at Luang Prabang substation as an operator for 3 years before moving back to my hometown - Vientaine.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

France to illuminate Vientiane landmarks

The French Development Agency (AFD) Thursday granted funds of around 3.7 billion kip (euro 300,000) to the Lao government to illuminate some of the finest buildings in Vientiane .

The ceremony took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, witnessed by the Vice Mayor of Vientiane Mr Bounchanh Sinthavong along with officials from the two sides and the authorities concerned.

The grant contract was signed between the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Hiem Phommachanh, and the French Ambassador to Laos , Mr Maurice Portiche, and the Director of AFD, Mr Roger Goudiard.

The grant enables the AFD to finance the illumination of four important buildings - That Luang Stupa, the Presidential Palace ( Hor Kham ), and Sisaket and Ho Pra Keo museums.

One major goal of the project is to prepare for the next Ministerial Conference of French-speaking countries from November 19 to 21 in Vientiane . The decision to hold this event in Laos will improve the country's link to French-speaking countries.

According to a press release, the conference will be an event of great significance, and will be attended by about 50 foreign affairs ministers from French-speaking countries around the world.

With this in mind, the Lao authorities plan to provide support for the use of the French language and to ratify the convention on the promotion and protection of the diversification of cultural expression.

Vientiane already has street names written in French, and the local authority expressed thanks in advance for financial support from the French-Speaking Mayors International Association for the city beautification project ahead of the conference.

By vientiane times
(Latest Update June 04, 2007)

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Transmission lines may be hit by rockets

This is not war time. So why rockets? Lao people make handmade rockets and every year they bring them to rocket festival. The festival is held every year in almost every villages ( exception for the cities) at the beginning of rainy season.

A few years ago there was a report that the transmission lines from Nam Ngum dam to Vientiane Capital were hit by rockets and as the result the condictors were broken.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Electricity consumption soars in Xieng Khuang

The demand for electricity has almost doubled in the northern province of Xieng Khuang, due to a growth in processing factories and services.

The director of the provincial Energy and Mines Department, Mr Sountha Khounyotha, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that the demand for electricity has soared from 1.5 megawatts last year to 2.5 megawatts this year.

The province is now into the second phase of its electricity network expansion project, ensuring more and more families have access to the grid.

The second phase of the project began in 2005, and is expected to be completed in 2008. So far, the installation of electricity poles is complete, and cables are now being installed, Mr Sountha said.

The project has already expanded electricity to several focal development areas in the province.

Today, 34 percent of families in the province have access to electricity, which includes power from generators and solar power systems.

The province has 569 villages with a total of 37,803 families.

The province forecasts that at least half of these families will have electricity by 2009.

Provincial authorities plan to continue expanding the installation of solar power systems to rural communities, with the aim of improving the lifestyles of those who live in remote areas.

The province is preparing to install 400 solar power system sets in rural communities next month, with another 1,000 sets planned for installation next year.

Mr Sountha said the World Bank had provided financial support for the solar power project in the form of a loan.

The province intends to pay back the funds lent from the bank by collecting money from people who benefit from the project.

He said one solar power set cost about 2.8 million kip (US$300), and users must pay this money back within three to five years, according to their contract.

However, the province is also putting in great efforts to ensure more and more families have permanent future use through hydropower projects.

Many more hydropower projects are expected to go ahead in the province, including the Nam Ngum 5 and Nam Mor hydropower dam projects.

By Manichanh Pansivongsay
(Latest Update May 23, 2007)

More local power needed to meet industrial growth

The government has announced plans to introduce more hydro-power projects to supply electricity to meet growing local demand, particularly with the growth of new industry around the country.

It will also conduct detailed surveys on the number of factories being built in Laos each year, and what additional electricity demands there may be in the future.

Director General of the Ministry of Energy and Mines' Department of Electricity, Mr Homphone Bouliyaphon, said yesterday that Laos currently does not have enough reserve electricity to supply new factories being built amid the country's growing economy.

Most of the hydro-electricity produced in Laos is intended for export to neighbouring countries, but can be bought back when local demands increase because of new industrial developments. This has an impact on the national economy.

“Today, agreements between investors and the government to export electricity to other countries stipulate that only 5 to 10 percent of the supply will go to local villagers,” Mr Homphone said.

“The only way to ensure new factories have a sufficient electricity supply is to establish more hydro-power projects to produce enough energy for the country.”

Current hydro-power projects primarily built for local supply in Laos include Nam Ngum 5, Nam Lik 1 and 2.

Mr Homphone explained that, previously, information about new industry had not been comprehensive enough for sectors to make plans for projected demands on the electricity grid.

Electricity du Laos, the country's main electricity company, is already earning almost US$20 million a year from exports of electricity to Thailand and Vietnam , but around US$8 million of its electricity has been bought back from these countries to meet local needs.

Last year, the cost of electricity imports increased to US$11 million due to developments in the provinces of Khammuan, Savannakhet and Bokeo, which re-imported their power to meet local demands.

“During the dry season, we use a lot of electricity, causing us to buy back power from neighbouring countries,” Mr Homphone said.

Laos has plans to build another 29 hydro-power projects by 2020, aspiring to become the ‘battery' of Asia . Currently, many dam projects are under survey and construction, to fulfil plans to export 5,500 megawatts of electricity to Thailand by 2015.

But Mr Homphone was also concerned about climate change from deforestation in watershed areas which could impact the operation of hydro-power projects.

“We will work in cooperation with relevant sectors to ensure our watershed is protected,” he said.

Mr Homphone said the cost of electricity in Laos was considered low and his department would review electricity prices again in 2012. “We still don't know whether we will increase or decrease the price. This will be decided after thorough discussions between the relevant sectors,” he said.

Currently, Electricity du Laos is concentrating on improving the electricity system to reduce blackouts during the wet season. The improvements will involve updating transformers and installing new cables in some areas.

The company has given notice to inform the public about planned electricity blackouts, to avoid inconvenience to residents.

(Latest Update May 23, 2007)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rural electrification plan

As shown in this picture, red colour shows the area already electrified, green colour - the area is being electrified, white area - not electrified.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Luang Prabang 1993

In 1993 I got a job in Thalat-Lauang Prabang 115 kV transmission line Project. After a short training I was sent there by plane. At that time the condition of road N0.13-North which links Vientiane capital to Luang Prabang, was so bad. At that time the Vietnamese road construction company was taking care of it. 

In Luang prabang, the city was not called the world herritage city yet, had limited electricity. There was one small hydropower plant- Nam Dong and a diesel generator for supplying the city with electrical energy. 
The energy generated was not sufficient for all villages in the city,  so they had to plan and decide that which day which village to supply. The villagers could use electricity from 7 p.m to 10 p.m each day just for lighting purpose.

After the completion of the project in 1994 together with North 13th road, Luang Prabang has changed. It got energy through transmission line from Nam Ngum dam which allowes Luang Prabang citizens to use electricity 24 hours a day all villages together.
The link to Vientiane capital through orth 13th road has made prosperity for trading and tourism. Nowaday Luang Prabang is the first place where the tourists whish to see in Lao PDR.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Laos is studying possiblity to build dams in the Mekong river

Mekong is the biggest river in Laos. It is the international river too. It flows through the territories of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Building dams in this river can effect those countries. But dams could bring a lot of money to Laos from selling electricity to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The Malaysian is conducting a feasibility study on Don Sahong, Champasak Province and The Thai conducting a feasibility study in Xayaboury Province.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Technical and non-technical losses

Long time enough that I had no time for updating this blog. I got new promotion in my job and it is not about technical matters any more. But I got chance to return to Bokeo Province, the place where I used to work on the data analyzing project for EDL. My friends there said EDL now has problem with energy losses including technical and non-technical losses.

Technical loss is from network and transformers but non-technical loss is from debt. EdL has a lot of debt from government buildings such as hospitals, ministries, radio.. They have no money to pay the bills for electricity.

EDL staff study a lot about losses, load flow and voltage drop to keep overall losses lower 13%. Their problem is they still don't know neither how much is technical nor non-technical energy losses.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Lao new year. Year 2550

The Lao New Year called "Bpee Mai" or "Songkan" is celebrated every year mostly around April 13 to April 16.

New Year Traditions

The festival last for three days. The first of the three days is the last day of the old year. Houses and villages are properly cleaned on the first day. Perfume, water and flowers are also prepared for the Lao New Year. The second day of the festival is the "day of no day," which means that the second day doesn't fall in the old year or the new year. The last day of the festival marks the magnificent New Year. The New Year is usually celebrated during the full moon is out or close to it.

Water is used for washing homes, Buddha images, monks, and soaking friends and passers-by. Students first respectfully pour water on their elders, then monks for blessings of long life and peace, and last of all they throw water each other. The water is perfumed with flowers or natural perfumes. Some people prefer flowers in the water to give a pleasant smell, as well as adding cologne/perfume. The idea of watering came from the legend of King Kabinlaphom, whose seven daughters kept his severed head in a cave. The daughters would visit their father's head every year and perform a ritual to bring happiness and good weather. Over the years another tradition has developed with Lao New Year: people will smear or throw cream (shaving cream or whipped cream) or white powder on each other during the celebrations.

Sand is brought to the temple grounds and is made into stupas or mounds, then decorated before being given to the monks as a way of making merit. There are two ways to make the sand stupas. One way is to go to the beach, and the other way is to bring sand to the wat, or pagoda. Sand stupas are decorated with flags, flowers, white lines, and splashed with perfumed water. Sand stupas symbolize the mountain, Phoukao Kailat, where King Kabinlaphom's head was kept by his seven daughters.

Another way to make merit at this time is to set animals free. The Lao believe that even animals need to be free. The most commonly freed animals are tortoises, fish, crabs, birds, eels, and other small animals.

Flowers are gathered to decorate Buddha images. In the afternoons people collect fresh flowers. Senior monks take the younger monks to a garden filled with flowers, where they pick flowers and bring back to the wat to wash. People who didn't participate in the flower picking bring baskets to wash the flowers so the flowers can shine with the Buddha statues.

There is an annual pageant in Luang Prabang to crown Miss Bpee Mai Lao (Miss Lao New Year). There are many beauty pageants in Laos, but Luang Prabang - the old capital - is widely known for its Nangsoukhane pageant. There are seven contestants, each one symbolizing one of King Kabinlaphom's seven daughters.

Nights during New Year include traditional Lao music, mor-lam, and ram-wong (circle dancing). During the daytime almost everybody is at the temple worshipping, hoping to have a healthier and happier life in the new year. During the evening, people of all ages go to the wat for entertainment.

If you go to Laos during the New Year time, be prepared to get wet. Laotions are very friendly folks who don't mean any harm. If you are out driving or walking on the streets they will squirt you with water. Don't fret, they mean no harm - they are not only wishing a long and healthy life for themselves, but they are also wishing the same for you. There are, however, some minor accidents during this time of the year. The roads can get pretty slippery, so be cautious of where you walk or drive.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Geographical Information System in Laos

Geographical Information System in Laos

The government will have access to more information to allow the expansion of the electricity grid in rural areas, by using a computerised Geographical Information System.

Yesterday in Vientiane the government agreed to funding for the project from ‘Intelligent Energy Europe' and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It approved the Capacity and Institutional Strengthening for Rural Electrification and Development project to test and implement a pilot project for decentralised energy options in Khammuan province.

Khammuan province has facilities for the generation of electricity through hydropower and solar power, as well as capable human resources.

The project will provide important information for rural electrification planning in the future, said the Director General of the Department of Electricity, Mr Houmphone Bulyaphone.

The project will be tested and implemented in Laos and Cambodia , and will run for two years from 2007-2008.

The objective of the project is to improve the impact of rural electrification on sustainable development and poverty alleviation, using the Geographical Information System.

Both countries will develop their technical capacity and be provided with the hands-on tools to direct investments and decide between off-grid and on-grid options, renewable or fossil fuel off-grid production, as well as priority projects to maximise development.

Training sessions will be organised for a hands-on approach to learning, along with regular meetings with working groups to ensure sharing of knowledge and ownership building.

The GIS-based tool GEOSIM for rural electrification will be developed as a result of the two ASEAN member countries having very low rates of rural electrification.

GEOSIM is a computerised rural electrification planning tool developed by Innovation Energie Developpement of France .

An electricity service plays a key role in rural development, giving access to affordable, reliable and safe electricity which can improve food, education and health services, as well as improving opportunities for income generation.

(Latest Update April 5, 2007)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

SWER: Single Wire Earth Return

In Laos there is a cheap system for electrification to remote area. SWER or Single Wire Earth Return is being used in southern and central part of the country when in the north there is shield wire system.

For more details about SWER you can read from

Comparing the 2 pictures above, the left one is conventional 22 kV distribution system and the right one is 12.7 kV monophase SWER system, which is simplier in construction, fewer components and less cost.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

insulators: pin type, line post and pinpost

For the first time for 22 kV distribution lines they used pin type insulators. Nowaday you can still see them in use but from time to time they are being replaced by line post and pin-post insulators.

The line post insulators are replacing the pin type insulators

The pin post insulators are the best insulators. They mix the quality of both pin type and line post insulator together. But you may not see them very often. May be because of the cost which is higher.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Underground cable in Laos

Conventional distribution line in Laos is overhead lines with medium voltage of 22 kilovolt. In the past there was 6.6 kV system, and in some area especially where the line connects to Vietnam grid, there is medium voltage with 33 kV.
Underground cables are used in the big cities like Vientiane capital and the world heritage city - Luangprabang (XLPE cables, PVC cables, electric wire and cables) .
There is also underwater cable across Mekong river to Thailand.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Watt-hour meters in Laos

Electricity is transmissted from dams to substations through 115 kilovolt lines. The highest hi-voltage transmission line in Laos is 500 kilovolt (under construction). In the subtations electricity is transformed to 22 kilovolt. The transformers in the streets lower the voltage to 400 volts, three phase four wire system and 230 volt 1 phase 2 wire system.
In every houses we still can see analogue watt-hour meters. Long time ago watt-hour meters were installed to the houses' walls behind the fences. Recently they were moved to the electric poles outside the fences in order to easy access for meter reading. Meter reading is performed manually by personnel from Electrical utility( EdL).
Recently the chinese company is trying to sell prepayment electronic watt-hour meters to EdL.

Monday, February 5, 2007

High above the ground

For the workers, who erect the steel towers and do stringing work, being above the ground is their work.
They work, eat and even sleep on the steel towers.
Some of them can walk on one single conductor so freely like walking on the ground.

Some towers are 1 hundred meters high but common height of steel towers is about 30 meters high.
You decide how much money do you require for this kind of job? You will have a safty belt and nylon rope

Monday, January 22, 2007

Life at the work site

Any villages along the transmission line when they were available or small camping tents when there were no nearby villages.

One cook for all. All in one table.

Going to work:
By feet, by truck or bikes
Washing up:
Streams, rivers, lakes, water from water utility

singing with no guitar or other instruments. Short wave radio (SW). No FM.
Beerlao, the most popular beer in Loas, is available in many villages but villagers' favourite drink is Lao khao - the local made sticky rice vodka. Sometime they put some herb into the bottle and they called it Lao Ya or Lao Bong Ya. Usually it is stronger than Russian Vodka.

Birthday with no cake but water melon.

any place that was convinient. No public or private restroom.
Many deseases from mosquitoes, diarrhea..Hospital was so far away.

Other service:
Barber drove his motorcycle around from one village to another.

The ice-cream man does the same but on his bicycle.

tag to os555, August

Saturday, January 13, 2007

from bottom to the top

After surveying I had a few months to spend in the city, but after that we had to return to the site. The jungle had been changed, along the transmision line trees were cut and cleared. Every man had hi own work. But for me I had to make foundations for steel towers, tower erection and stringing work, in fact I had participated in every works from bottom to the top of steel towers and from the beginning to the final stage of Banna - Attapu 115 kV transmission line.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Real jungle

After sitting long time in the office doing paper work I went to the real jungle in the end of 2004. My new work was to check survey of high voltage line in the South of Laos under the name of Banna to Attapu 115 kV transmission line construction project contracted by Indian company - Jaguar. I was the team leader. Our action zone was in the boarder of two districts - Pathoumphone, Champasack Province and Sanamsay, Attapu Province. Our team had 6 men, 4 local villager, 1 Soviet Uaz (jeep), 1 diesel genarator for lighting and battery charging, 3 walkies talkies, 1 handheld GPS receiver and 1 set of Trimble total station.

As I mentioned above that was real jungle, no road, no vehicle, no communication...
Our Soviet Uaz could not cross Xekhampho River which was full of water but villager could walk through, there were stones underwater. So we walked across river in the morning, took Tok Tok ( local vehicle) to nearest point and after that walked into the jungle. In the jungle of the South there were deep forest, wild birds and sparse Laotheung villages. After work we walked across river again to our Uaz and drove to our camp at Thongsay village. That work lasted for 1 month.
(crossing Xekhampho River)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


My name is Phanomsinh. I am lao (laotian). 37 yrs old.
My job is an electrical engineer. I work for government enterprize in Laos. My company name is ECI or Electrical Construction  and Installation Enterprize. It has just separated from th biggest electrical utility company in Laos - Electricite du Laos (EdL). I started working for EdL since 1994.  
For the first time my work was in 115 kV transmission line construction from Thalat 
(the location of Nam gnum dam) to Luang Prabang. 
After completion of transmission line construction I continued working in Luang Prabang 
at 115/22 kV substation. I worked there for 3 years.
In 1997 I joined ECI, at that time ECI was one of EdL branches and its location is in Vientiane - Capital of Lao P.D.R (Laos).
In the same year I was in Singapore for training on the topic of Electric Power management.
I thought the training was useful I have seen GIS system (Geographic Infomation system) and the country's power control center but very hard to bring singaporian experience to be used in Laos. 
Singapore is rich and Laos is in the list of the poorest countries in the world. In Singapore the substaions are unman, 
every things are controled from the control center. 
In Luang Prabang substaion where I used to work there are 2 people on duty all the time, 
2 in day time and 2 in night time and every operation is carried out manually at the substaion.
After joining ECI I learnt to use AutoCAD for drawing and designing 22 kV distribution line.
I was among the best draftmen of ECI.
My job changed when the French gave the assistance to Lao government and the Vientiane Network Rehabilitation Project was Lauched by ETDE - the company from France, in 1999. 
I gained a lot of experience from working with the French before I became the head of Project
Managing Unit for Power Transmission and Distribution Project under ADB loan. 
ECI was the contractor for Distribution (22 kv and 0.4 kV electrical network) from 2000 to 2005.
I think it's enough for today
To be continued Please come back