Vietnam Electricity reports sharp fall in profits on power production

By Nguyen Hoai   December 18, 2019 | 11:00 pm PT
Vietnam Electricity reports sharp fall in profits on power production
Workers fix electricity grid in southern Binh Duong Province. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
Vietnam Electricity’s profits from power production plummeted last year due to rising costs, a new report from the state utility said.

EVN's after-tax profit from electricity production fell 75 percent from 2017 to VND699 billion ($30.2 million), according to the report released Wednesday by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Production costs rose 3.58 percent to VND1,727 (7.5 cents) per kilowatt-hour due to increasing costs of coal and oil, it said.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said the low profit margin, at 0.47 percent, would pose long-term financial challenges to EVN when electricity production relies on oil, which is more expensive than coal and hydropower.

The government raised power prices by 8.36 percent in March after keeping it unchanged since 2017.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, head of the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam, said power supply would be adequate next year if there are no "unfavorable factors."

But to ensure this EVN would have to procure almost 3.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity from oil-fired plants, he said.

The country would also have to import 2.1 billion kWh from China and 1.1 billion kWh from Laos, Tuan added.

Vietnam’s rapidly growing economy has increased power demand amid dwindling coal and gas supply while the country’s hydropower potential is almost fully exploited. 

The ministry has estimated a power shortage of 3.7 billion kWh in 2021 and a peak shortage of around 15 billion kWh in 2023 before it falls to 3.5 billion kWh in 2025.

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