Workers of the Việt Nam Electricity in HCM City are checking substations. Electricity prices would not be increased at least until the end of the second quarter. — VNA/VNS Photo Thành Chung
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Industry and Trade has called for no increases in the electricity price until the end of the second quarter at the earliest to support businesses amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
This was the highlight of the ministry’s Directive No 06/CT-BCT issued on Wednesday to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to remove difficulties for businesses.
In the directive, the ministry asked the Việt Nam Electricity and other agencies not to increase the prices of inputs for production until the end of the second quarter.
This means electricity and fuel prices won't increase until July at the earliest.
Previously, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also asked for electricity prices not to be increased to support firms hit hard by the pandemic.
The most recent increase in retail electricity prices was on March 20, 2019, when the power price soared averagely 8.6 per cent to VNĐ1,864.44 (US$0.08) per kWh.
The ministry also called for the construction of big power projects to be hastened to create an impetus for growth, including Thái Bình 2, Long Phú 1 and Sông Hậu 1 thermopower plants, renewable energy projects and power transmission systems to ensure there would be no power shortage in 2021-25.
In the directive, the ministry also mentioned solutions to support business and production in overcoming the difficult time.
The ministry asked the Domestic Market Department to ensure an adequate supply of necessary goods at stable prices nationwide, especially in localities heavily affected by the pandemic.
Enhancing market monitoring was the top priority, the ministry said, adding that any price speculation would strictly be handled.
Simplifying administrative procedures and deregulation would also be sped up to support businesses.
The ministry plans to work with other ministries and agencies to ensure adequate raw materials for domestic production.
In addition, focus will be placed on removing barriers to facilitate cross-border trade.
Notably, incentive policies will be raised, first for the garment and textile, footwear and other industries which are suffering a great deal.
The ministry also plans to work with the State Bank of Việt Nam to promote cashless payment and implement zero-charge programmes for online payment of public services.
EVN to ensure power supply for dry season
Việt Nam Electricity (EVN) has said it will strive to ensure adequate power supply for the coming dry season and the full year.
EVN said electricity supply was anticipated to face a lot of difficulties in the March-June period due to the low level of water entering hydroelectric reservoirs.
According to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, water levels in rivers and springs in the northern, central and Central Highlands regions until July would be about 20-60 per cent lower than average levels in many recent years.
EVN estimated that the total hydroelectricity output in this year’s dry season would be 4.2 billion kWh lower than its target, creating pressure on power supply.
To make up for the shortage from hydroelectricity generation, EVN plans to boost thermopower generation by more than four billion kWh.
EVN Chairman Dương Quang Thành said the focus would be placed on ensuring safe and stable operation of the national power system and improving the efficiency of power plants.
Maintainance would be conducted on schedule for the power grid and power plants to ensure their stable operation. Construction of new power projects would also be hastened, Thành said. — VNS