|Workers from An Giang Province Electricity install power lines for the province's Chau Doc District. A Government plan aims to provide electricity to all homes across the country within the next five years. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Ha
HA NOI (VNS) — Fears that the Government would miss its target of universal electricity coverage by 2020 are growing, as more than 500,000 rural households continue to live without light, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
A Government plan being carried out by MoIT and Electricity of Viet Nam Group (EVN) aims to bring electricity to all corners of the country, from mountainous areas to isolated islands, within the next five years. It also aims to provide that electricity at an across-the-board regulated price, which has proved difficult.
But in reality rural areas have two options for buying electricity. Residents can either purchase it directly from EVN, the national electricity provider, or from third parties – local electricity co-operatives. The co-operative build grids in the regions themselves and distribute power to consumers – generally at higher prices than the Government's.
To standardise prices EVN needs buy up the co-operatives' local power grids. But more than 20 per cent of the country's co-operatives – 2,000 – didn't properly record their investments, making it difficult for EVN to take over their properties, Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang told the National Assembly that the co-operatives.
"The MoIT and Ministry of Finance are working together to find solutions, both on clearance for transitioning control over the grid and minimising the co-operatives' losses at the same time," Hoang said.
However, most rural grids were decaying, and even posing a safety hazard in some areas.
A majority of the VND30 trillion (US$1.4 billion) set aside for the national power coverage goal will be spent on local grid maintenance. — VNS