Myanmar businesses will be left without power for five hours a night for most of this month to allow students to burn midnight oil, highlighting how the energy shortage is forcing tough choices and already making the acute economic pain worse.
State-owned Yangon Electricity Supply Corp. will restrict customers from using electricity for business purposes between 5 p.m. and March 20 at 10 p.m., according to a statement. The department blamed the need to help students study for exams scheduled to be held by mid-March for the decision.
Since a military junta seized control in 2021 and ousted former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, sanctions have left buyers unable to easily access dollars to buy fuel, and Myanmar has struggled to keep up. Last year’s global energy crisis deepened the picture as import prices soared, causing shortages and blackouts in Myanmar and many other developing countries in Asia.
To help ease energy shortages, Myanmar’s military-led government has bought Russian fuel oil shipments, but it is unclear how much has arrived. Blackouts are not a new headache for Myanmar, but last year the situation worsened with outages in Yangon and other cities that lasted half a day. They are, however, more severe outside the larger cities, and the decision to limit commercial use in Yangon is a rare move.
Myanmar’s energy sector has been weakened by the withdrawal of foreign companies following the coup. A subsidiary of Thai state-owned energy company PTT PCL recently postponed a $2 billion production project, Nikkei Asia reports, following the exit of multinationals including Chevron Corp. and Total Energy SA.