Low water levels means critical power shortage for Vietnam

TN News

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Vietnam is likely to face a critical power shortage in the upcoming dry season this year as water levels at hydroelectric reservoirs are extremely, the government said Monday.

The lack of water will translate to a loss of nearly 1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity at hydro power plants, the government said in a statement.

Power demand in Vietnam is set to rise 18 percent this year on the back of an economic recovery. Consumption in the first three months alone increased 22 percent from the same period last year.

Nguyen Lan Chau, deputy head of the Central Hydrometeorology Center, said many reservoirs couldn't store enough water due inclement hot and dry weather across the country. The dry season arrived a month early this year.

Meanwhile, the three largest power plant reservoirs in the northern region Hoa Binh, Thac Ba and Tuyen Quang had to release more than 3.5 million cubic meters of water to feed rice fields and their water levels are now very low, she said.

"Without proper management, water may reach "˜dead' levels and the plants will no longer be able generate power," Chau said, noting that Thac Ba's water level on Monday was only 3.44 meters higher above the level necessary to produce power for consumption.

The situation has been made even worse by technical problems at major thermal power plants, local news website VietNamNet reported last Friday, citing the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The ministry also said six new power plants with a total capacity of 450 megawatts should have started commercial production in the first quarter but they were behind schedule.

A prolonged drought forecast for the next three months will make it difficult to produce enough electricity over the summer, especially in May, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said in a statement Monday that state-owned Electricity of Vietnam needed to regularly check the power supply for the whole country and make sure power projects meet their completion deadlines.

The power company has been ordered to increase power imports and seek supplies from independent producers.

The PM also ordered the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group to ensure sufficient gas supply for power production during the dry season this year.

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