Khounkham District, June 1, 2016

The people of Phoumakneng village enthusiastically marked National Tree Planting Day on June 1, adding 6,800 saplings to their gardens and public spaces with the assistance of the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC).

District and provincial officials joined THPC staff in planting the trees alongside the villagers, using the occasion to also celebrate World Environment Day.

Soulideth Baomanikhoth, Deputy General Manager of THPC, said that as it does each year, the company provided a variety of trees for the villagers to plant including fruit trees, decorative species and shade providers. This year THPC gave five saplings to every household in the village, with more emphasis put on fruit trees.

Following instruction on how to properly transplant the saplings, villagers planted the trees at their houses and gardens as well as around Phoumakneng's school, meeting hall, health centre and temple. Mrs Noi, a 25-year-old housewife said she was proud and delighted that THPC had organised plantation day at Phoumakneng this year.

“It’s hot work planting the trees”, she said, “but it’s a great idea. This helps us compensate for forest that has been lost over the years. I will come every day to check on my saplings. If there’s a lot of rain, I will add more soil so the plant doesn’t drown. If it’s too dry, I will water it”.

Before the planting got underway, Keolandon Chantaphany, the Governor of Khounkham District read the villagers a speech from Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, urging them to protect forests and maintain biodiversity.

Phoumakneng village was founded in 2010 when five villages living along the Hinboun River moved to a new flood-safe location with houses, farm land and public facilities provided by THPC. The relocation of the villages formed part of the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project, inaugurated in early 2013. THPC now has a generating capacity of 510 megawatts and has contributed over US$460 million to the Lao state since beginning operations in 1998.


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AIThvrA student from Laos’s Xieng Khouang province has begun a Master’s degree in Energy Business Management at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok. Ms Laphongngern Thepphavong started the two-year course in January this year under a grant from THPC and on April 25 attended a ceremony to mark her scholarship.

At the ceremony THPC’s General Manager, Robert Allen, said the company had long wanted to provide an opportunity for Lao students to study energy-related disciplines at a high level, but that it had taken some time to identify both a suitable course and candidate. He expressed THPC’s confidence in AIT as an educational leader in the region, and said he hoped Ms Laphongngern’s example would inspire other Lao students in the future.

Ms Laphongngern, who already holds Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Science and English for teaching from the National University of Laos, said she considers herself fortunate to have the opportunity to study in an international environment, and to experience different languages and cultures.

AIT’s President, Professor Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai commended THPC for giving back to society and contributing towards human resource development.

The THPC scholarship covers all the student’s fees for the course plus travel and visa expenses, and also provides a living allowance. The student has no obligations to the company on completing her degree. THPC also provides scholarships for several undergraduates at Lao universities, runs a primary and secondary school in Khammouane province, and includes community education measures in its social programs.

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Pathoumphone District, September 4, 2015ban boun handover

Schoolchildren in Pathoumphone District, Champassak Province, have received a boost to their education with the handover of four new classrooms for Ban Boun secondary school, courtesy of assistance from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC).

Soulideth Baomanikhoth, the Deputy General Manager of THPC, was at Ban Boun on September 4 to hand over the new classrooms to village representatives and officials from Champassak Province and Pathoumphone District Education Offices.

In May and April this year two groups of THPC personnel came to the village to help with construction of the new school wing, through a team-building activity designed to benefit a rural community while at the same time assisting THPC’s staff development.IMG 4646

Funding for the building was provided by a combination of sources including the people of Ban Boun, the local education authority and THPC, which donated 256 million kip towards the costs. The school’s Director, Mr Bounlieng Phommachanh said that the new classrooms had enabled the school to take on extra pupils this school year, expanding the opportunity for education to more villages in the area.

Mr Soulideth said that by joining with the villagers and authorities on this small project, THPC had found a win-win situation. “In this instance, we have managed to make a contribution to a friendly and deserving community while also providing our staff with valuable experience. Ban Boun has gained an important asset at the school, and its residents have made friends with our company” he said.


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Vientiane, April 1, 2016    

Installation of a new turbine at the Theun-Hinboun Powerhouse in Khammouane is allowing THPC to generate more electricity from the water it uses. The new 120-megawatt turbine began operating on February 28, and recent tests show the unit is delivering power at higher efficiency than was previously possible.IMG 8476

According to Khonsavath Muongpak, THPC Operations Manager, the turbine replaces a 110-megawatt turbine installed for the original Theun-Hinboun project in 1997. Mr Khonsavath said that the new machinery would increase production. “This is an important consideration for hydropower operators”, he said “especially at a time when rainfall is becoming less predictable than in the past”.

Low levels of rainfall in 2015 have hampered the ability of hydropower operators to run at full capacity, and improved technology can help to ease this problem. “At THPC we prefer to run our turbines at best efficiency rather than maximum output, and under that regime this new turbine will generate 10 megawatts of extra power from the same amount of water”, said Mr Khonsavath.

Work on the turbine began in December last year, through a major overhaul team comprised of staff from THPC alongside specialist engineers from the Rainpower and Alstom companies in Norway. The job was completed ahead of schedule, with the Lao team impressing their foreign counterparts.

Alf Steiner Jensen, site manager for Rainpower, said that THPC’s team worked quickly, efficiently and safely, enabling the work to be achieved in good time with excellent results and zero accidents.

The second of the original TH turbines will be replaced at the end of this year, allowing THPC to catch up on some of the production lost to last year’s poor wet season. “With good rains this year, we will quickly be able to return to full production”, said the company’s Deputy General Manager, Soulideth Baomanikhoth. “Despite low water levels we have been able to fulfill all our financial obligations to the government and our lenders, while also maintaining support to local communities”.

“However, at full production we are able to make higher payments to our partners and contribute more to national development” he said. “The new turbines will increase this even further”.

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THPC’s Operations and Maintenance team worked alongside international engineers                                                                                             during the turbine upgrade, impressing the visitors with the quality of their work.

Khounkham District, September 2, 2015phousaathandover

The residents of four more villages built along the Hai and Hinboun rivers in Khammouane have taken ownership of the facilities built for them on flood-safe ground by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company, or THPC.

On September 2 residents of Phoumakneng, Phousaat, Tha and Thamtem villages gathered at Ban Phousaat for the official handover of the houses, health centres, schools, electricity and water supply systems and other community facilities built by THPC over the past six years.

The transfer was signed by Robert Allen, THPC General Manager and Keolandon Chanthapany, the Governor of Khounkham District, witnessed by the Governor of Khammouane, Odai Sudaporn. The ceremony followed a similar transfer of ownership conducted at two villages in Hinboun District in June.

THPC began constructing new villages downstream of its power plant in 2009 as part of the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project. The project, inaugurated in early 2013, is expected to aggravate the length and intensity of natural floods that occur during some wet seasons, and so THPC has been relocating villages to ensure that local people are not endangered.

The facilities at the four villages, including irrigation system, temples, roads and other public infrastructure, cost THPC around US$7.75 million. Villagers have received new fields in the area and still have access to much of their former land from the old villages nearby. The relocated families can also benefit from programs to help them improve agricultural production or learn skills for business development.

At the handover ceremony Mr Allen said that while the success of each family’s livelihoods in the new villages depended largely on the efforts of the villagers, THPC would continue to support the communities until it became apparent that each village was moving towards sustainable prosperity. Mr Allen also called on the district and provincial authorities to contribute to the services and maintenance support required to keep each village in good condition.

Psaat Oct 2014 0532  Psaat Oct 2014 0517Phousaat Oct 2014 0550

Many families moving to the villages chose to build their own houses with THPC funding, while the company took charge of constructing public facilities such as the schools and clinics.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Photos: THPC/Jim Holmes

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