Poor residents’ homes get free electricity makeover

Poor residents expect directions on how to use electricity in a safe way so that they can avoid accidents that arise from limited understanding, says Tran Trong Tuan, Chairman of the Binh Chanh District’s People’s Committee.

A new neon light fixed at Mr. Tran Van Bay's at 178/20A Phan Dang Luu Street, district Phu Nhuan (Photo:SGGP)

Over the last five years, 1,600 fire accidents have caused losses of VND253 billion(US$15 million), according to the city’s Firefighting Department.

Some residential quarters in districts 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Binh Thanh, Binh Chanh and Can Gio are at high risk of fires because houses in these districts are made of inflammable materials and located in narrow alleys.

The house owners, moreover, encroach on the safety corridor that needs to be maintained between power supply points and houses, the department says.

Responding to this problem, a joint initiative called “For a safe life” has been launched by Sai Gon Giai Phong, Khai Toan Group, the University of Architecture of Ho Chi Minh City and Ton Duc Thang College of Technology.

So far, the program has provided free electrical equipment to nearly 500 needy households in districts 3,5,6,8, Phu Nhuan and Can Gio. The program spent VND1.5-2.5 million on each house.

Organizers have announced that they will improve the electricity system for 1,000 houses for free per year until 2010.

In Binh Chanh district, around 200 households in Phong Phu, Tan Nhut, Da Phuoc, Huy Duc, Binh Loi, Le Minh Xuan and Pham Van Hai communes earn under VND6 million (US$356) a year. Leading a poverty-stricken life, people pay little attention to safe and thrifty use of electricity.

Under the program, a house entire electricity system will be changed. New wiring, energy-saving neon lights, holders and automatic circuit breakers will be provided. All electrical equipment has accident coverage from insurance company Bao Viet.

However, houses built illegally or located in land clearance and resettlement areas will not benefit from the program.

By Ai Van - Translated by Anh Dao

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