Lao Cai households near hydropower dam have no electricity

VietNamNet Bridge - More than 40 households in Giang Tru hamlet of Nam Khanh commune in Bac Ha district still cannot use electricity from the national grid, though they live next to the 36 MW Nam Phang hydropower plant.



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Nam Phang, which belongs to Bac Ha Power JSC, has been operating smoothly in the last six years. In order to make room for the hydropower plant’s construction site, tens of households in Giang Tru had to leave their homes and gardens, accepting to lose tens of hectares of fields and crops. 

When beginning site clearance, the managers of Bac Ha Power JSC promised that they would provide electricity to people after the plant became operational.

More than 40 households in Giang Tru hamlet of Nam Khanh commune in Bac Ha district still cannot use electricity from the national grid, though they live next to the 36 MW Nam Phang hydropower plant.

However, they have not fulfilled the promise, though the 43 households in the hamlet have repeatedly asked for electricity.

Two years ago, Dang Van Chinh and nine other households borrowed VND90 million from banks to install a transmission line to get electricity from Ma Pho hamlet, about 3 kilometers away.

A local man said that since the day Nam Phang became operational, the water sources have become depleted. As a result, households’ mini electricity generators have become useless.

However, the transmission line cannot help much. The electricity from Ma Pho hamlet is so weak that people still have to light their houses with oil lamps most of the time.

“If you want to use electric cookers, you will have to get up at 3 am. If not, the electricity is so weak that it cannot boil water,” Chinh said.

Other people also installed electricity transmission line themselves. However, they are facing the same problems. Though the electricity is weak, every household still has to pay VND300,000-400,000 in electricity bill every month because of the high loss in transmission.

An official of the Nam Khanh commune People’s Committee previously had working sessions with Bac Ha JSC and Nam Phang hydropower plant on providing electricity to the households.

The representative of Bac Ha JSC said it had sold the 35 KV line which goes across Giang Tru hamlet to the hydropower plant, so it cannot sell electricity specifically to Giang Tru’s people.

Meanwhile, the representative of the power plant said the plant can only generate electricity and sell electricity to the State, but it doesn’t have the right to sell electricity directly to people.

Of 43 households in Giang Tru hamlet, 27 are listed as poor households. One of the reasons behind the poverty is the lack of electricity, which makes it difficult for them to access information and apply technology in production.


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