Businesses scared of power shortage

Analysts said local businesses were under pressures of increasing input costs and a shortage of power in the first few months of the year.

Cotton producers are asked to cut the power consumption by 13 percent this year (Photo:Minh Tri)

Nguyen Huu Bieu, general director of the medical instrument maker Bao Viet Xanh, said the company suffered losses from the blackouts in the first months of the year, which were informed only two hours before hand.

Efforts to curb the issue have seen local businesses spend big bucks on electricity generators. But the fuel price hike now continues to pile up more burdens on their production costs.

Many businesses said they were in dilemma of opting for reducing operation and raising the price as they were afraid of losing their market shares.

Tran Dang Tuong, chairman of the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association, said “cotton producers’ operation requires a large amount of electricity. But we had to reduce our operation as we were asked to cut our power consumption by 13 percent this year.”

“Earlier the company produced around 1,600 tons of cotton monthly, but now the output was reduced by 200 tons, leaving us suffering tens of billions of dong,” Tuong said.

Cao Tien Vi, chairman of the paper maker Sai Gon, said the paper factory My Xuan 2, which is set to open soon this year, required to be operational around a day and be halted just three or four times annually for technical maintenances.

“Therefore the blackouts will hurt the operation. We are negotiating with the electricity providers to find out the solutions,” Vi said.

Le Minh Chuan, general director of the state-run Vietnam National Coal - Mineral Industries Group, told Dau Tu Tai Chinh Newspaper that he was so worried about the blackouts as mines without electricity are very dangerous to thousands of miners.

Tran Cong Hoang Quoc Trang, chairman of the Vietnam Plastic Association, said the plastic makers’ electricity consumption has been reduced by 10-15 percent. 

Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, said he got to know about the impacts of the blackouts to local businesses’ operations at a recent meeting on export in the first three months of the year.

Hoang said the electricity producers will increase their output to around 1,000 megawatts to meet the local demand.

The state utility Electricity of Vietnam, also known as EVN, is expected to raise the additional charges by 15 percent.

With more hydropower plants put into operation this year, the electricity shortage problem in the dry season will be reduced to 1.7 billion kWh from the earlier expected amount of 2 billion kWh, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

State utility EVN also announced it will try to ease the power shortage problem by importing more electricity from China and mobilizing power from thermal power plants.

It will also speed up construction works on new hydropower plants, which are expected to be operational in June. They include Song Tranh 2, An Khe – Ka Nak, Son La and Uong Bi, with the total output of 1,08 megawatt.

The utility purchased 956 million kilowatt-hours from China in the first two months, up 28.89 percent from the same period last year.

By Yen Lam – Translated by Vu Minh

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