Lao authorities say they plan to build more transmission lines throughout the country to expand domestic consumption of electricity to 70% of the population by 2015 and 90% by 2020. Currently, 53% of Laos' 6-million population have access to electricity.
Laos' seven dams are currently producing some 670 megawatts of electricity, which translates into some 3.5 billion kilowatts/hour. Over 2.2 billion kilowatts/hour were exported to Thailand last year, leaving some 1.3 billion kw/hr for domestic consumption which was not enough, forcing Laos to buy back from Thailand approximately 450 million kw./hr, worth 20 million dollars.
Officials say currently over 2.8 million people in rural and remote areas across the country do not have electricity, adding that they face an increase of 15% in energy need annually, and expect the need will go up to 30-40% in a few years with expansion in the mining sector.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details in Lao.