|Workers at the Electricity of Viet Nam's Power Transmission Company No 4 connecting power lines. Despite a lingering drought in the Central Highlands and the southern region, electricity demand is expected to be met by thermal power plants. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Ha
HA NOI (VNS)— Power supply will meet the anticipated surge in demand during the dry season this year, said Dang Huy Cuong, director of the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Viet Nam.
The authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade was prepared to tackle the falling output at hydropower plants due to prolonged drought in the Central Highlands and southern region, he said. Gas-fuelled thermal power plants would operate at full capacity until July, which would provide over 4 billion kWh per month, in addition to over 3 billion kWh per month from coal-fueled thermal power plants.
According to Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN), while hydropower makes up about 40 per cent of the country's electricity output and provides relatively cheap power, the water shortage at hydropower plants' reservoirs is currently almost 5.3 trillion cubic metres – meaning reduced output of 1.43 billion kWh.
This is critical as the dry season (April-June) is usually a peak time for power consumption.
EVN calculated that total electricity output across the country during this period would be about 34.35 billion kWh, 11 per cent higher than the same period last year.
In emergencies, the company plans to make use of more expensive power generating sources such as oil-fuelled power plants and imported electricity.
The EVN planned to mobilise over 1.1 billion kWh of power from FO or DO oils, which would substantially raise production costs: each kWh generated from oil costs VND5,000-6,000, while the current average power price is about VND1,400 per kWh.
Southern regions with major economic hubs such as HCM City, Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces would face more serious shortages, as no new power plants become operational there this year.
Director Cuong noted that since the beginning of this year, electricity supply has met demand for production and daily consumption.
A representative from EVN Ha Noi told Kinh te & Do Thi (Economy and Urban Affairs) newspaper that the recent power cut in the capital was part of scheduled maintenance, rather than due to power shortages as in previous years.
The company does not yet have any plans to cut power this year, according to the representative. — VNS