Companies request cheaper power to overcome coronavirus impacts

By Anh Minh   March 30, 2020 | 06:23 pm PT
Companies request cheaper power to overcome coronavirus impacts
An electricity worker fixes cables in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
Businesses are proposing a reduction in power prices to help them overcome challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee had recently proposed the government lower electricity prices by half during peak hours from March to May to help businesses at this time of crisis.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) also asked for a reduction in power prices for manufacturers and cold storage facilities. The association also wanted a postponement of the electricity payment deadline, with seafood producers suffering significant revenue loss due to canceled exports contracts.

Vo Quoc Thang, CEO of construction materials producer Dong Tam Group Jsc, has suggested a 50 percent reduction in prices for households as the Covid-19 pandemic slashes incomes.

The reduction should be applied for three months starting April, and the remaining 50 percent should have payment deadlines pushed back to next year to assist residents during this difficult period, Thang said.

A senior official with the Ministry of Industry and Trade told VnExpress that the ministry was considering options to support businesses in terms of power prices.

However, some experts say a reduction is unlikely as power demand is rising despite the pandemic.

Tran Viet Ngai, chairman of the Vietnam Energy Association, said that power consumption in the first quarter rose 6.34 percent year-on-year, citing data from utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN).

Although consumption by hotels and restaurants fell 0.4 percent, that of construction and industry rose 6.38 percent.

"Had consumption fallen, lower prices could be considered. But this did not happen in the first quarter," he said.

In March last year, the government had increased power prices by 8.36 percent to VND1,864 (8 cents) after keeping them unchanged for two years.

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