Larkar villagers pay in full despite electricity blackouts

Villagers claim they are paying full amounts for a full electricity service they are not receiving.

Residents from Larkar village claim that authorities require them to pay the full rate electricity bills even though the power is often cut-off. Larkar village is located on the western part of the Salween River in Hpa-an Township in Karen State.

A woman Larkar villager (who ask that her name not to be used) told Karen News.

“Even if we have electricity running, the power is very low. This has been going on almost a month, but we are still expected to pay a the full monthly rate for the electricity.”

The villager explained that in their village, they have to pay 35kyat for each one unit for home use and 75kyat a unit for business use. On average, home users have to pay between 4,000 to 5,000 kyat a month.

The Larkar villager said that the constant electricity cuts and the low voltage caused lots of problems for students, householders and businesses that rely on the electricity.

“Students have to study by candle light when the power is cut. The power surges also destroy light fittings or television sets. We can’t rely on electricity to cook with. We have two lines of power but now neither of them is working.”

Larkar residents say that when the electricity is running they only get higher power source after 10pm. Villagers who can afford it have bought generators rather than rely on the local supply.

A village teacher told Karen News that she is unhappy at paying the full fee for a service that is inadequate.

“We want full power. We want the amount of electricity that we paid for, and we want it regularly. Only then, will it be of use for students, housewives and villagers.”

Karen News contacted, the Minister of Electric Power at the Karen State level to get his response to the complaints made by the Larkar resident’s. U Saw Kyi Lin explained to Karen News that villagers will have to continue to pay the rate set by the government.

“We are providing electricity to not only Larkar village, but also to surrounding villages. There hasn’t been any power cuts during in recent weeks. But if there are wire problems, we stop the electricity temporarily. If there are problems with electricity supply, we inform the engineer at the State level or officials in the State government.”

Larkar village has 787 households with a total population of 4,470 people – almost every house uses electricity. Larkar villagers earn their living by working at the nearby Myaingalay Cement Factory, some work as small traders and others as migrant workers in Thailand.

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