EVN to stop selling electricity below cost from next year

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The Vietnamese government has ordered state utility Electricity of Vietnam to gradually increase power prices and stop posting losses.

The company, also known as EVN, has to deal with losses incurred previously within this year and the next year and ensure profits for the 2012-2015 period, according to a report on the government's website, which cited a new plan approved by the prime minister.

EVN reported a loss of VND3.5 trillion (US$166.4 million) for 2011.

Power prices are still subsidized by the government. Under the new plan, EVN is allowed to raise its prices and will no longer have to sell below cost in 2013.

The company raised average power prices by 5 percent on July 1 in an attempt to offset its losses. The new price of VND1,369 per kilowatt-hour is expected to increase its revenues this year by VND3.7 trillion.

The government has also ordered EVN to ensure an average output growth of 13 percent per year between 2011 and 2015 to meet the country's growing electricity demand.

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EVN will begin constructing 14 power projects by 2015, including a nuclear power plant in the central province of Ninh Thuan.

According to the government's plan, up to 98 percent of families in rural areas will have access to electricity in 2015.

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