EVN links Khmer-inhabited regions to national grid

20/06/2011 14:16:22 - views: 4,124

Ethnic Khmer communities in many places in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces of Soc Trang and Tra Vinh are set to benefit as the Electricity of Viet Nam Group begins work at the end of this month to connect their areas with the national power grid.

Part of a larger VND796 billion (US$38.6 million) project also covers Bac Lieu Province, it envisions supply of electricity to thousands of Khmer households by the end of next year.

In Soc Trang, the project would cover 85 communes in nine districts and cost VND305 billion ($14.8 million), Huynh Minh Hai, director of EVN's subsidiary in the province, said.

Eighty-five per cent of the money would come from the Asian Development Bank, he said.

More than 300km of medium-voltage transmission lines and around 870km of low-voltage lines providing a total capacity of 10,760KVA would be installed, he said.

Once the task is completed by the end of next year, an estimated 20,000 Khmer households in the province will get electricity, increasing their percentage from 67 per cent to 93 per cent.

In neighbouring Tra Vinh Province, the project would add or renew more than 200km of medium-voltage lines and 650km of low-voltage lines to supply electricity to a further 20,000 Khmer households in seven districts, deputy director of EVN's provincial subsidiary, Dang Van Dinh, said.

To cost VND227 billion ($11 million), the project would ensure supply to 93 per cent of Khmer households compared to 80 per cent now, he noted.

Soc Trang and Tra Vinh together account for more than half Khmers in the country, with Soc Trang alone having 400,000 people.

Lamp posts and wires had to be transported by boats and rafts where there are no roads, and over marshes to islets, Ho Quang Ai, deputy managing director of the Southern Electricity Company, an EVN subsidiary, said.

EVN estimated the average cost of connecting a household to the national grid was VND15 million though it cost even double just to reach some isolated villages, he said.

"The project is not commercial," Ai said, explaining, "We do not expect to make any profits from the villages."

Rather, it is aimed at improving the lives of the Khmer, eradicating poverty, and contributing to the economic growth of remote villages.

Bac Lieu began work on the project last September, providing electricity to 61 communes in six districts with large concentrations of Khmers.

The province hopes to finish it in the third quarter, connecting more than 5,600 households to the national grid at a cost of VND81 billion ($3.9 million).

Source: Vietnam News

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