No power cuts in May, ministry orders

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The Ministry of Industry and Trade has ordered national power utility, Electricity of Vietnam, to ensure adequate supply and refrain from rotating blackouts in May.

According to the ministry's Electricity Regulatory Authority, with water levels rising at hydropower plant reservoirs and new power sources coming online, the pressure on power supply should ease in May and June.

It also said Vietnam has increased power purchases from China by around 100 million kilowatt-hours per month starting April.

The Tien Phong newspaper reported Tuesday that Electricity of Vietnam, also known as EVN, expected its annual output to exceed its target by 700 million kilowatt-hours thanks to improved power production conditions.

It also cited EVN as saying demand growth has slowed down. Since the recent power price hike in March, power demand among households expanded by only 5 percent, compared to a 10 percent growth in the first quarter.

As long as there were no incidents at power plants and electricity demand growth is less than 15 percent, EVN will be able to ensure sufficient power during the dry season, its officials said.

Vietnam on March 1 raised electricity prices by around 15 percent in an attempt to help EVN cover losses and attract more investment into the sector to meet the country's expanding power demands. Demand for power is expected to grow by 16-17 percent in 2011.

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