YANGON -- Myanmar is getting financial and technical support from Japan to make its creaking power grid more reliable.
The power distribution authority here in Myanmar's most populous city has installed blackout-limiting equipment made by Kyoto-based Nissin Electric. The Japan International Cooperation Agency split the cost of the upgrades (several hundred thousand dollars) with Myanmar's electric power ministry.
Osaka-based utility Kansai Electric Power has sent personnel to help with the installation and operation. A trial run will last until December, with further upgrades a possibility.
Should part of the grid malfunction, the equipment keeps power flowing to parts operating normally, minimizing outages. The lack of such safeguards makes widespread blackouts a problem now.
Only around 30% of the country has electricity, and existing transmission equipment badly needs updating. The Japanese government has announced plans to help speed the expansion of Myanmar's power grid in cooperation with the World Bank.