The Electricite du Laos (EdL) is hopeful of meeting 95 per cent of the electricity demand of households in the country by the end of this year in order to build on its achievements in the sector over the past 60 years.

This figure was highlighted by EdL managing director Chanthaboun Soukaloun at an event held on December 18 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the state power company’s founding.

The event, held in a hybrid mode, was attended by Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Daovong Phonekeo, deputy ministers, former EdL managing directors and senior ministry officials.

Chanthaboun said EdL prioritises the implementation of the national socio-economic development plan, promotion of related-enterprises, and creation of jobs for the Lao people.

“Since the establishment of EdL in 1961, it has been a vital factor in the socio-economic development of Laos, with the active contribution of its employees over a long period of time,” he said, adding that EdL will continue to grow gradually and implement its short and mid-term plans.

Four important factors in the goals set for the coming years include the development of the organisation, increasing revenues through the improvement of the pricing structure, decreasing EdL’s expenditure, and restructuring the debt with various banks.

“Two essential duties to make a breakthrough are implementing the political and social policy, and making profits and increasing funds for the nation, and these are also crucial targets,” Chanthaboun said.

He said EdL employees are at the forefront of efforts to implement the plans and they actively contribute by taking on the responsibilities assigned by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) and government.

Dr Daovong, who is also the LPRP secretary at the energy ministry, told the gathering that till 1975, Laos had only the Nam Ngum hydropower plant as a medium scale electricity generation unit, and two small-scale power plants – Nam Dong hydropower plant in Luang Prabang province and Xelabam hydropower plant in Champasak province.

“Only five cities in Laos – Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Khammuan, Savannakhet and Champasak – with 19,000 households [or 10 per cent of the total] were able to access electricity at that time,” he said.

Currently, Laos has 88 electricity generation sources, including 75 hydropower plants, a coal-fired thermal plant, four biomass projects and eight solar energy power plants.

Dr Daovong said: “With a total installed capacity of 10,672MW, the country now has a generation capacity of 54,967 million KWh, and the transmission system covers over 67,643km nationwide.

“Besides meeting 95 per cent of the domestic household consumption, EdL is an electricity exporter and a key revenue earner for the nation.”

The electricity industry has become a key economic sector for the nation and is to implement the resolution of the LPRP’s 11th Congress, the Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSDP 2021-2025) and “two nations’ agenda” in a bid to overcome the current economic crisis.

“Two essential tasks to be implemented are meeting the demand of domestic consumption, and constantly earning revenues from exports through the development of a stable electricity system with reasonable and fair prices,” Dr Daovong said.

To ensure that all these plans are successfully implemented, he called on EdL to strengthen energy development management and be responsible for the tasks assigned to it by the government following the organisation’s achievements over the past six decades.

During the same ceremony, EdL presented awards to departments, employees and representatives of branches for their outstanding contributions over the years.