The Vietnam Electricity (EVN) will not increase electricity prices from now to the Lunar New Year, or Vietnamese Tet, which falls around mid-February, the state-run power utility said Tuesday.
Power prices will remain unchanged by the national holiday, EVN deputy general director Dinh Quang Tri said at a press conference in Hanoi.
EVN reported VND4.93 trillion (US$232.04 million) in profits in 2013, according to a report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which oversees the power utility.
After the Lunar New Year, which starts on February 19, EVN could hike power prices by 7-10 percent, Tri said.
Nguyen Anh Tuan, head of the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam, said if EVN wants to increase power prices by 7-10 percent, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will consider and approve the proposal.
“A price increase plan of more than 10 percent will be considered by the ministries of trade and finance, which will seek final approval from the Prime Minister.”
Asked why EVN is still considering a power price hike even though the company is operating at a gain while oil prices are falling sharply, Tuan said the oil price is important but it is not the only factor that matters.
Slumping oil prices can only help reduce costs at diesel- and gas-fueled power plants, of which there are far fewer compared to the hydropower and coal-fueled facilities, on which oil prices have no impact, he elaborated.
Tuan also said EVN will continue buying power from China in 2015, though at a lower volume. The power purchased from China is costlier than electricity generated by local hydropower plants.
“We started buying electricity from China in 2004, but have reduced purchase since 2012 when many new power plants were commissioned,” he said.
“In 2012 we bought 3.2 billion kWh from China, and 2.29 billion kWh in 2014. The figure in 2015 will be even smaller.”
Tet is Vietnam’s biggest celebration, with festive preparations starting around a week before the occasion, and the celebratory atmosphere lasting four to five days from its beginning.