Following a meeting with Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem on Monday, the technical committee of the National Assembly will review six draft laws that address the government’s guarantees of payment to six companies investing in the development of the electricity sector in four provinces.
The meeting discussed the energy investments of six companies, with four of them investing in solar farm projects set to produce 140MW. Two coal-powered plants in Lao PDR are set to supply 2,400MW of power to the Kingdom.
National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long said the permanent committee had reviewed the draft laws before sending them to the technical committee for vetting, ahead of a joint discussion with the 9th Committee of the National Assembly.
Once the three committees have discussed and reviewed the draft laws, they will be forwarded to the plenary session of the National Assembly for review and approval.
“I don’t know when the plenary session will be held as the technical committee is still reviewing the draft laws in detail,” said Peng Long.
He noted that the laws are related to the development of the electricity sector in Pursat, Battambang, Svay Rieng and Banteay Meanchey provinces, as well as the purchase of electricity from Lao PDR.
This is part of the government’s efforts to increase electricity supply, especially with the arrival of the dry season, when there could be inadequate water for hydro-electric generation, causing a shortage in electricity, said Peng Long.
He said population growth has also led to increased demand for electricity.
General Department of Energy director-general and spokesman Victor Jona said the draft laws would guarantee payment by the government to the six companies investing in the electricity sector.
“The government has made efforts to meet the electricity requirements of citizens for next year until 2021. We will also put in greater efforts to develop all sectors and especially ensure economic growth and better livelihoods for our citizens,” said Jona.
Rights group Adhoc spokesman Soeng Sen Karuna said he was concerned about the approval of the draft laws on electricity development as it could affect villagers.
“A good law results from consultations with relevant parties, especially affected villagers. What do the companies want? How will they implement the projects?
“Before implementing any project, there should be consultations with affected parties. The companies should also allow the villagers to benefit from the project through employment or other benefits,” he said.