Khounkham District, June 28, 2016NakhaVaccination004

Two new schools and two new health centres built by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) are serving communities in Khounkham District, Khammouane.

The health centres, secondary schools and primary schools were constructed over the past year in the new villages of Phaxang and Phakhouak. While they have been open to the public since early 2016, the facilities were officially handed over to local authorities at a ceremony in Ban Phaxang on June 28.

Phaxang and Phakhouak are being built to provide new flood-safe villages for over 750 households along the Hinboun River. THPC has built eight new villages along the Hinboun and Hai rivers as part of the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project, which was inaugurated in early 2013.

The health centres at Phaxang and Phakhouak cover the populations of six villages and also provide services to other communities in the area. The clinics follow the government Type B standard and come with furniture, medical and office equipment, toilets and medicine supplies. THPC has also organised training sessions for health centre staff on public health management and new techniques.

The new primary and secondary schools also have toilets, while THPC has provided libraries and books, classroom furniture and teaching equipment to foster educational development in the communities. At the handover ceremony, Mrs Surapha Viravong, deputy director of the company’s social and environmental division, said that THPC has invested around US$467,000 in the new schools and health centres. She said that while THPC would continue to support the villagers as they build their livelihoods, the villagers and local authorities would need to take responsibility for managing and maintaining the new public facilities.

Accepting the new facilities on behalf of Khounkham District, district governor Mr Keolandon Chanthaphany said that THPC had done a great deal to boost development across Khounkham, providing various communities with improved housing roads, infrastructure and public services.

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Left and centre: Students arrive at the new Phaxang secondary school to take their end-of-year exams in May 2016. Miss Chanpha, left, washing her hands in the rain, said that the new school has a major advantage over their old village school: the roof does not leak when it rains, making exams much easier to sit.

Right: Action for Lao Children and the National Library have helped THPC establish libraries in all schools at project relocation and resettlement villages.

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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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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.

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.

Go to AIT website announcement

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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