Laos dams safe, power producer says, as monsoon rains lift water levels

The entrance of Houay Ho Hydropower Plant is seen in Sanamxai in Laos' Attapeu province on July 25, 2018.
The entrance of Houay Ho Hydropower Plant is seen in Sanamxai in Laos' Attapeu province on July 25, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - EDL-Generation Pcl, Laos' state-controlled power producer, said the 10 hydroelectric dams it operates are safe even as "unusually high rainfall" during monsoon season has lifted reservoir water levels.

The Vientiane-based company is closely monitoring water levels at its dams and the extra reserves should help boost power output in the coming months, its chief financial officer Bounsalong Southidara said by phone on Tuesday (July 31).

His comments come a week after an auxiliary dam at a hydroelectric facility under construction that isn't associated with EDL collapsed, leading to a flash flood that killed at least 26 people.

"The amount of rainfall has been so enormous even as it's still early in the monsoon season," said Bounsalong. "We are at full alert to ensure their safety when much more rains are expected in the coming months."

The dam disaster last week is probably the worst such catastrophe the country has faced in decades, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith was quoted by the nation's state news agency as saying.

The land-locked nation has boosted investments in hydro power plants for electricity sales to neighbouring countries to boost economic growth.

EDL-Generation's wholly owned dams have combined capacity of 619 megawatts, according to the company's website. EDL-Generation shares have dropped more than 10 per cent this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.