|Deputy minister of industry and trade Đỗ Thắng Hải at the ministry's September press conference. — MoIT Photo|
HÀ NỘI — There will be no increase in electricity prices from now until the end of the year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) - the country's power regulator - announced yesterday during the ministry's monthly press conference.
In recent months, MoIT and Vietnam Electricity (EVN) have reached out to areas of the country that were put under lockdown with a 10 per cent discount on their electricity bills, a move that has been welcomed by both households and business consumers during a difficult time.
Asked whether the ministry will continue with their discount after the lockdown has been lifted, deputy-minister Đỗ Thắng Hải said: "The ministry's position is to fully support any programme that will benefit the community."
Hải said the ministry has been working closely with EVN and other ministries on the matter.
Answering questions on a possible extension for wind power projects that have been delayed because of the pandemic to qualify for the ministry's feed-in tariff (FIT) incentive pricing deadline on 31 October 2021, Hoàng Tiến Dũng head of MoIT's electricity and renewable energy department said by the end of August, there were 106 wind power projects in commercial operations and eligible for FIT.
Of which, 54 projects are under the MoIT's jurisdiction. So far, the ministry has started the inspection process on 30.
The ministry's FIT was approved in September 2018, setting the price at US 8.5 cents and 9.8 cents per kWh for onshore and offshore projects, respectively.
The ministry said it had been studying the price mechanism for wind power for a report, which would be submitted to the Prime Minister. It has been said that the country may replace its current FIT incentive with an auction system after 2030.
"The shift from FIT to an auction system is a global trend and in accordance with Việt Nam's current regulations. We believe the move will benefit the industry's management capacity, transparency and competition," said Dũng.
In July last year, EVN said it was against the extension of FIT for wind and solar power plants, saying it believed an auction system would make renewable energy more competitive and reduce prices.
In light of the ongoing shortage of electricity in China, the ministry said it had not produced significant impacts on Việt Nam's economic activity.
"We have been in talks with various business associations and organisations to keep an eye on the country's industry energy input," said Nguyễn Ngọc Thành, deputy head of MoIT's industrial department.
Commenting on Việt Nam's trade deficit of $2.1 billion in the first eight months of the year, the ministry said it had not seen cause for concern as the country just recorded a trade surplus of $500 million in September, even as its major industrial hubs were hit hard by another outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
"We still have three months on the calendar. Barring a major slip up in virus control, industrial centres in the southern region should be able to build up momentum and regain ground with the year's trade balance in our favour," Thành said. — VNS