Coup-hit Myanmar sees nationwide electricity outage

Residents of cities like Yangon reported the power going off in the early afternoon.
Residents of cities like Yangon reported the power going off in the early afternoon.PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (AFP) - Electricity supply was cut across many areas of Myanmar on Friday (March 5) because of a “system breakdown”, according to multiple government agencies. 

People started posting on Twitter and Facebook about the widespread blackouts across commercial hub Yangon at around 1.30pm local time (0600 GMT). 

“A system breakdown is causing power outages across the country,” reported Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation in central Yangon’s Yankin township. 

Further north in the city of Magway, along the Irrawaddy River, the region’s Electricity Supply enterprise reported the same. 

Netizens on Facebook – an extremely popular platform in Myanmar – similarly reported electricity blackouts in other parts of the country. 

The supply cut comes as the junta has tightened its chokehold on communications, blocking social media platforms – which people have skirted by downloading VPNs – and imposing a nightly Internet shutdown.

By 4 pm (0900 GMT), Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation announced that they had restored the power, which would take time to transmit across Myanmar’s largest city.

“We are letting the people from all townships know that we are trying to transmit power across Yangon at this time,” they posted on their official Facebook page.

People across the country began reporting on Facebook that their electricity had returned. The supply cut comes as the junta has tightened its chokehold on communications, blocking social media platforms – which people have skirted by downloading VPNs – and imposing a nightly internet shutdown.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the Feb 1 coup that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power, with soldiers and police escalating the use of force on the streets to quell nationwide protests.