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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.