Laos Suspends Power Supply to Cryptocurrency Mining Businesses

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Cryptocurrency machines in Champasack Province (Photo: AIF Group).

Electricite du Laos (EDL) has announced that it will no longer supply electricity to cryptocurrency mining operations in Laos, citing long-term outstanding debts.

The notice, issued by EDL on Wednesday, states that Laos experienced drought conditions during the first six months of 2023, with extreme heat causing high electricity demand, while hydropower plants struggled to generate enough electricity.

According to EDL, 95% of the nation’s electricity is generated by hydropower plants through the Electricite du Laos system, and the state-run power company intends to supply electricity locally, as well as export large volumes to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGET) to supply the Thai power grid through the upcoming dry season in 2024.

The governor of EGAT said this month that if the drought in Laos becomes severe, hydropower plants in Laos will generate less electricity, reducing export capacity.

Meanwhile, Lao authorities say that cryptocurrency mining operations have failed to repay mounting debts.

“Another reason we must suspend supplying electricity to cryptocurrency mining businesses in Laos is that they are unable to pay their outstanding electricity bills,” an EDL employee told Laotian Times.

The Bank of Laos ceased providing loans to cryptocurrency businesses in January this year to reduce financial risk and maintain the financial stability of commercial banks, as well as promote the supply of credit to the production sector.

In September 2021, the government of Laos authorized six companies to trade and mine cryptocurrencies to trial mining and trading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.