Reservoirs dry up, worsen power shortage

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Many hydropower plants have had to reduce operations due to dangerously low water levels, worsening the electricity shortage problem in the country.

Power plant operators said reservoirs are drying up around the country, especially in the Central Highlands and southern provinces.

In February, total water flow into Vietnam's reservoirs fell by 189 million cubic meters from a year ago. Major power plants including Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang and Tri An reported that their water levels are now only four to 10 meters above the dead level.

Ta Van Luan, director of Ialy Hydropower Plant in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, said the plant was expected to generate 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours in the first six months of the year. But the target is now hard to reach, given that its output in the first two months was just 170 million kilowatt-hours, he added.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said in February that there may be a chance the country could escape power shortages in the summer as long as demand does not grow by more than 15 percent in the first half of the year.

However, due to reduced output at hydroplants and unstable production at many thermal power plants, electricity outages have begun to occur nationwide.

Vietnam depends on hydropower plants for up to 40 percent of its electricity demand. State utility Electricity of Vietnam said it will try to ease the power shortage problem by importing more electricity from China.

The utility purchased 956 million kilowatt-hours from China in the first two months, up 28.89 percent from the same period last year.

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