Business activity stalled by load shedding

By Duc Minh, Hong Chieu   June 7, 2023 | 07:49 pm PT
Business activity stalled by load shedding
A factory in Hanoi was shut down due to load shedding. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Chinh
Businesses in northern Vietnam are struggling to keep operations going amid frequent load shedding as demand for scant power surges.

A consumer goods factory with 2,000 employees in Bac Ninh Province was warned last week that could experience power cuts of up to 10 ten hours on certain days this week.

"We have a power generator running but it can only support basic office work, not manufacturing," said a representative from the company, adding that during long hours of outages the company has to tell its employees to take the day off and work overtime later.

Other factories in Bac Ninh and Hanoi industrial parks also reported load shedding of up to 24 hours on Monday and Tuesday.

In Bac Giang Province, some companies at the Van Trung Industrial Park also experienced 24-hour cuts beginning at 7.30 a.m. Saturday.

The power cuts cause major disruptions to businesses.

Additives and Petroleum Products Jsc had to let its workers go home early this week after being informed of a six-hour power cut due to load shedding.

It takes 18 hours to complete the production of a chemical batch, and the power cut caused all the materials in process to condense and they were thus all ruined, said CEO Hoang Anh Dung.

"Who is going to pay for the expenses?" he asked.

Another company with two factories in Bac Ninh Province said that the power cuts have stalled production and delayed orders and delivery.

The services sector is also suffering frequent energy cuts.

Hoang Van Dai, CEO of barber shop chain 30 Shines, said that with load shedding of up to eight hours a day, some of his salons had to shut down.

Renting a power generator can cost up to VND25 million ($1,064) a day, and with this expense the company only stays open to retain customers, not to gain profit, he added.

Hydropower is the main source of electricity in the north, but in some dams water levels have dropped to near the minimum level required for power production.

Power demand, however, surged 24% year-on-year last month in Hanoi alone.

With businesses making complaints, authorities are trying to prioritize manufacturing.

Starting Tuesday, Bac Giang will prioritize power for factories during the daytime and households during the nighttime.

Factories with urgent orders can register for power usage from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

Quang Ninh, a popular tourist destination, also said it would prioritize power for hotels and tourism companies.

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