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Tharawaddy electricity board extorts money from locals

Feb 25, 2008 (DVB), The state-run Electric Power Corporation has been demanding extra money from residents of Tharawaddy township, Bago division, and withholding electricity from those who do not pay, locals said.

The official electricity quota for households in the township is six hours per day, but some residents have complained they are only getting two hours of electricity a day, while others get only four hours a week.

A Tharawaddy township resident said that those who paid the extra money were being given greater access to electricity.

"The EPC is asking locals to pay extra charges, and they provide 24-hour electricity to households who pay them the money," the resident said.

Households in some parts of the town have only been getting power for two hours a day or less, and have not been given the option of paying for a better supply.

Local residents reported the activities of the local EPC officials to the authorities, but the senior officials just laughed at them, the resident said.

When DVB called the EPC for comment, they said they were providing six hours' electricity per day to each area of the township at staggered times.

But the Tharawaddy resident said that when he paid the money they asked for on one occasion he had had power for 24 hours.

"They did provide 24-hour electricity if you paid the money, but they asked for about 3000 to 4000 kyat every day," he said.

Some locals who can afford it have chosen to pay the money, particularly those whose businesses could not run without electricity.

"It's still a lot cheaper than running our own generators and spending money on fuel to run them, because 5,000 kyat of fuel will not even last one hour," the resident said.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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