|Phu Quoc Electricity Branch staff regulate electricity at the diesel workshop that provides power to the whole island district. The power supply from the national grid is expected to pave the way for socio-economic development on Phu Quoc Island when an underwater 110kV cable connecting the district island with Ha Tien Town is installed. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Ha
KIEN GIANG (VNS) — The power supply from the national grid is expected to pave the way for socio-economic development on Phu Quoc Island when an underwater 110kV cable connecting the district island with Ha Tien Town is installed later this month.
According to the Southern Power Company under the Electricity of Viet Nam Corporation (EVN), construction of the 55.813 km Phu Quoc - Ha Tien Cable is scheduled to start on November 21 of this year and be completed on January 13. It will cost nearly VND2 trillion (nearly US$95 million).
Household customers as well as tourism businesses on Phu Quoc Island are facing power shortages.
In areas powered by Kien Giang Electricity Co., household customers pay over VND5,000 ($0.2) while businesses pay nearly VND8,000 ($0.4) per kWh, compared with VND1,500 ($0.1) per kWh on the mainland.
Tran Ngoc Nga, deputy director of Thien Hai Son Hotel in Duong Dong Town, said a 100-guestroom hotel must pay VND450 million ($21,000) per month, three times as high compared with the electricity bills of a hotel of the same scale on the mainland.
Le Minh Hoang, director of Kien Giang Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that poor infrastructure development, especially shortages of electric power supply, has been one of the major hindrances facing development on Phu Quoc.
Hoang said of the 13 tourism projects on the island, only Ba Keo Resort in Duong Dong Town was supplied with electricity from Kien Giang Electricity Power Company.
"This is a major problem that hinders efforts to attract investment to Phu Quoc," Hoang was quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying.
The operation of Phu Quoc International Airport has helped increase the number of tourist arrivals in Phu Quoc to rise by over 30 per cent, leading to an overload at existing hotels and guesthouses," according to Huynh Quang Hung, deputy chairman of Phu Quoc District People's Committee.
Investors of a number of tourism projects licensed in the past few years resumed construction after hearing about the new national grid connection.
To prepare for the cable link, a VND76.7 billion ($3.6 million), 18.2 km transmission line linking Kien Luong and Ha Tien have been built.
Two transformers worth VND156.2 billion ($7.4 million) in Ha Tien and Phu Quoc and a 7.6km 110kV tranmission line linking Ham Ninh and Phu Quoc, worth VND101.8 billion ($4.8 million), were also built.
The number of hotel and guest rooms on the island could double in two years after Phu Quoc is linked with the national grid, Hung said.
He said thousands of electricity poles had been installed on the island, awaiting the power supply from the national grid to reach households in rural areas.
A project to build a VND296 billion (US$12 million) water plant on Phu Quoc Island has been approved by the provincial authority of Kien Giang in the Mekong Delta.
The plant, which is scheduled to become operational in 2016, can supply 16,500 cu. m. of clean water per day.
According to Nguyen Duc Hien, director of the State-owned Kien Giang Water Supply - Drainage Co. Ltd., facilities of the plant include a 16,500 cu.m/day water treatment plant and and 50km of pipelines.
Hien said 74 per cent of funding for construction of the plant will come from a World Bank's loan and 26 per cent from counter-capital of Kien Giang Water Supply - Drainage Co. Ltd..
All necessary formalities for the loans have been completed and construction of the water plant is scheduled to start in 2014, Hien said.
According to figures released by the investor, Phu Quoc has a total of 950 million cubic metres of rainfall per year and the planned reservoirs can help supply water for local residents' daily activities, production and tourism industry on the island.
Hien said the existing water supply plant on Phu Quoc can supply 5,000 cu.m/day of water to 110,000 local residents and visitors on the island.
Such a small water plant cannot meet the demand for water in the future as Phu Quoc has been developing very rapidly and will soon become a Category 2 city and a special administrative and economic zone affiliated with the Central Government, Hien was quoted as saying by the Vietnam Investment Review. — VNS