Vietnam to extend grid by 2010

8 December 2004 – Vietnam’s Prime Minister has outlined plans to extend the countries power grid system to bring light to all communes and rural areas in the country by 2010.

The five-year project is aimed at upgrading and expanding rural electricity networks, as well as building a model for network management to be run by local authorities. Approximately 60 000 households and more than four million farmers nationwide are expected to benefit from the project.

So far, Tuyen Quang has become the first mountainous province in northern Vietnam to connect all communes and towns to the national electricity grid. Tong Dai Hong, director of the Tuyen Quang Electricity Department, said that 81 per cent of the 133 000 households in rural area have access to the national electricity grid, 42 per cent more than were connected in 1997.

Hong also said the rural electricity network was built and developed by various funds from the World Bank, provincial budgets, the hunger elimination and poverty reduction programme and support from local residents. In 2003, the province built 44 transformers with total capacity of 4940 kVA, encompassing 146 km of middle- and low-voltage power.

Director of the Electricity Company 1, Nguyen Phuc Vinh, commented his company faced problems when transferring rural electricity management to communal authorities. Although there were many electricity management units in one particular commune, they all quoted prices higher than the Government’s fixed rate.

Vinh said the most important thing to ensure the model’s success is to train workers in electricity, management and trade skills and to help local households buy electricity at a price not exceeding the Government’s fixed cost of VND700 per