Electricite du Laos (EdL) is aiming to significantly reduce expenditure in 2022 compared to 2021 in a bid to support government efforts to tackle economic and financial difficulties and stabilise macroeconomic growth.

Addressing the company’s annual meeting at its headquarters in Vientiane on February 11, managing director Chanthaboun Soukaloun said the region and the whole world were facing challenges in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Lao government is slowly relaxing restrictions to revitalise the economy under new normal practices.

“In recent years, EdL has faced challenges in numerous ways but the government is working alongside us through consultations while EdL is preparing to make sweeping reforms to achieve the goals set for state-owned enterprises,” Chanthaboun said, adding that the efficient management of revenue and expenditure was a top priority.

“The focus is now on modernised and centralised management so that we can make adjustments in keeping with changes in the socio-economic situation,” he said.

Chanthaboun added that to achieve energy stability EdL would continue to explore mixed forms of energy and power-sharing schemes, and utilise all types of energy.

The company will share sources of energy with other countries to avoid being overly heavily dependent on hydropower and other types of energy or involvement with countries that pose a risk to energy stability.

In addition, EdL will address technical failures in electricity generation, bolster measures to prevent the theft of energy, improve services during times of electricity failure, increase revenue generation, and set common indicators for work performance among employees.

During the meeting, EdL presented certificates of honour and other awards to retired employees and handed over certificates of congratulations to the company’s Youth Union.

At the close of the meeting, Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Daovong Phonekeo praised the management of EdL for their leadership during the Covid-19 crisis.

“Although Laos has faced challenges in recent years, the energy and mining sector remains a major contributor to economic growth. Income generated last year exceeded 41.289 trillion kip [$3.6 billion], an increase of 33 per cent compared to 2020. This figure surpassed the target set for 2021 by 10 per cent.

“This year the energy and mining sector will strive to fulfil the national agenda to address economic and financial difficulties, in which EdL will be given a crucial duty to perform robustly,” he said.

The electricity sector is a key contributor to the economy and will play a strong role in supporting the resolution adopted by the 11th Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2021-2025, as well as the national agenda to overcome the current economic crisis.

Laos has 88 electricity generation facilities comprising 75 hydropower plants, one coal-powered plant, four biomass plants and eight solar energy plants.

These power plants have a combined installed capacity of 10,672MW and a generating capacity of 54,967 million KWh, while electricity transmission lines run for 67,643km across the country, according to figures revealed on EdL’s 60th anniversary last year.