EVN says not fully responsible for power cuts

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State-owned power utility Electricity of Vietnam has said it does not hold a monopoly over electricity production and is not solely to blame for power shortages in the country.

The company has in fact borne losses of around VND4.7 trillion after buying electricity at high prices to meet demand in the first six months, EVN Chairman Dao Van Hung told the Vietnam News Agency on Tuesday.

EVN has equitized nine power plants and it now only owns 18  whose combined capacity accounts for 47 percent of the total 19,000 megawatts supplied by more than 40 plants in the country, including those owned by oil and gas group PetroVietnam and coal group Vinacomin, Hung said.

"By 2015 EVN will only account for 37.5 percent of the country's power capacity and I can affirm that EVN only has a monopolistic position in transmission, and not in power generation," he said.

"In my opinion, the government should establish a separate company to purchase power, one that is not under EVN. When EVN doesn't hold a monopoly in both production and trading, the public can have a more objective view."

Hung said Vietnam has failed to attract investment in the power sector as prices in the country were too low, unable to ensure profitability for investors. As a result, there have been serious power shortages, he said.

Frequent blackouts nationwide have become a serious problem for businesses and residents in Vietnam. The government said power production rose 17 percent in the first six months this year but still failed to meet growing demand..

The government has ordered EVN to ensure enough supply and report on the impacts of power cuts on business operations and daily life in the country. The report is due for submission on July 15.

Hung said there are impacts that could not be measured in terms of money. "Amid hot weather the social impacts are even bigger," he said.

Since the problem involves more than 40 power plants, EVN cannot be singled out for censure, he added.

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