Effectiveness of rural electrification program over 15 years

(VOVworld) – Vietnam’s rural electrification has expanded in the last 15 years. Last year nine million Vietnamese gained access to electricity. Now 98% of rural households are connected to the national grid. The electrification program has improved rural life and helped reduce the number of poor households.

Vietnam’s investment in expanding and upgrading the power grid in rural and remote areas over the past 15 years has been internationally recognized as an outstanding achievement that has boosted the rural economy 40%, especially benefiting ethnic people by supporting the growth of agriculture and handicrafts. The agricultural infrastructure has been improved by many new roads, irrigation works, schools, village medical stations, and markets. The program has boosted agricultural production, the processing industry and agricultural services. The agricultural production index increased 660% between 1998 and 2013 and average per capita income increased 800% in the same period.

Effectiveness of rural electrification program over 15 years - ảnh 1
Vietnam Electricity employees install a power meter for a household on Phu Quoc Island
(Photo: Tuoi tre)

According to Ha Tinh Province People’s Committee Chairman Vo Kim Cu, 100% of communes in the province now have electricity. Cu praised the program “to have fundamentally changed the province’s economic structure. By the end of last year, industry, construction, and trade services accounted for 82% of the economy, the remainder being agriculture. Most importantly, there was a big growth in agriculture. Raising shrimps, cows, pigs, and the processing of agricultural produce and seafood have all increased. The link between industry and agriculture has been tightened.”

By 2013, 98% of rural households were using electricity. The success has been praised by international organizations and sponsors for the contribution it has made to socio-economic development and poverty reduction.

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Work underway to ensure electricity supply to Tua Sin Chai Commune in Lai Chau province
(Photo: VNA)

In the interest of ensuring security and safety for Vietnam’s sea and islands, a series of underground power cable projects have been carried out, including one to bring power to 1,600 households on the Co To Islands. Danh Ut, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly’s Ethnicity Council, said the program has been quite efficient, and especially projects in the Central Highlands, the Mekong River Delta, and island regions. Ut said: “All these areas, including the Mekong River Delta, still have great untapped potential, so the government should step up investment to tap it. Once they have access to electricity, production costs will be reduced, boosting production and encouraging crafts like aquaculture.

91 communes in Vietnam still lack access to electricity. To achieve the goal of universal access to electricity by 2020, the government and the electricity sector will make greater efforts focused on improving the quality of the rural power grid. Hoang Quoc Vuong, Chairman of the state-owned Electricity of Vietnam, said: “in the future, EVN will continue to invest in the rural electricity grid for the remaining communes to meet the ultimate goal of ensuring that all people are provided with power.  The group intends to diversify the management and operation model for rural power systems. I believe diversification to allow various organizations to participate will help attain the set targets more quickly.

To reach the goal of 100% rural electrification by 2020, the government will commit ODA and other financial resources of the sector to upgrading the rural power grid, and will encourage more enterprises and individuals to participate in the program.