Vietnam may escape summer power shortage

TN News

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The Ministry of Industry and Trade said that there will be sufficient power as long as Vietnam's demand does not grow more than 15 percent in the first half of 2011.

Deputy Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong said previous forecasts had suggested that demand could grow by 18.3 percent in the first six months of this year the peak period of power consumption in Vietnam.

The first two months only saw a 12.9 percent increase in consumption, and, so far, no blackouts have been reported.

Total power supply for the six month period may soar as high as 38.04 billion kilowatt-hours, which would meet the country's demand as long as growth stays relatively low, the ministry said.

However, Pham Manh Thang, head of the Electricity Regulatory of Vietnam, warned that peak supply requires all power plants to run at full capacity without any backup.

"A small technical problem could affect the whole system," Thang said. It's better if power plants operate at under 95 percent of their maximum capacity.

Vietnam's government will raise power prices by 15.3 percent this March in an effort to attract further foreign investment in the power sector.

As a result of the hike, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said each household will have to pay an additional VND32,000-52,000 (US$1.5-2.5) a month.

Meanwhile, the power hike will drive production costs up 0.01-1.33 percent for steel, cement, textile and beer producers.

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