Vietnam to raise average power price by 5 pct as input costs rise

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Vietnam will raise average electricity prices by five percent from tomorrow, the second increase in almost six months.

Average power prices will rise to 1,437 dong (7 cents) a kilowatt-hour from 1,369 dong currently, according to a statement by Vietnam Electricity today. Prices were last increased on July 1, also by five percent.

Vietnam Electricity, the state-owned utility known as EVN, is allowed to raise power prices every three months based on factors including changes in fuel costs or exchange rates, according to regulations which became effective in June last year.

Input costs, including prices for coal and gas have risen, according to the EVN statement.

"EVN has to price in the gains in fuel costs to support suppliers," Dinh Quang Tri, EVN's deputy general director, said. "We have to raise the price to ensure an uninterrupted supply of fuel."

EVN may generate profits of 3.5 trillion to 4 trillion dong this year, after posting a loss of 3 trillion dong in 2011, Tri said in a posting on the government's website Dec. 4. Current prices are "very low", Le Duong Quang, deputy minister of industry and trade was quoted as saying in the posting.

EVN this month began building a 28.5 trillion-dong coal- fired electricity plant in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh as the country seeks to reduce its dependence on hydropower.

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