Electricite Du Laos (EDL) has caught the attention of the National Assembly due to the massive debt it has acquired.
During a recent National Assembly session, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Dr Khammany Inthilath, was questioned by NA members as to how the excessive debt was accrued.
The minister explained that there are two main elements contributing to the towering debt that faces EDL- unpaid fees owed by consumers, particularly fees owed by state organizations; and funds that EDL had borrowed for investment purposes, including the development of new hydropower plants.
Data from the enterprise indicates that the balance owed on unpaid electricity has reached as high as 1,217 billion kip- 326 billion kip of which is owed by state entities. 149 billion kip is owed by the operators of irrigation systems while the remaining debt can be attributed to outstanding payments by households and businesses.
An official at EDL has established that the payments owed by households and businesses are short term debts and that consumers regularly pay their bills within an appropriate amount of time.
Dr Khammany has assured parliament that his ministry is communicating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, to find the best solution in addressing the recurring debt of irrigation system operators.
When addressing the substantial amount owed to EDL by state departments, which has been accumulating since the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the minister commented that that would be handled gradually. He stated that the government was enhancing its measures which requires all state departments to use resources economically.
Along with the unpaid balances, EDL has also taken out loans in order to fulfill its investment needs, which include expansion of the electricity network into rural communities, expansion of the national power grid and development of hydropower plants.
Statistics indicate that EDL has a total debt of 7,291.6 billion kip that it’s responsible for, including its longer term debt.