Preparations for a competitive power generation market in July have almost reached completion, according to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong.

Addressing a ministerial conference aimed at providing companies and authorities with proper knowledge regarding the market operation and regulations, Vuong urged relevant parties to prepare for a switch from the present State monopoly on power supply to a more competitive market system.

"A competitive market is an effective tool in ensuring the sustainable development of the sector and energy security in Vietnam in order to meet the power demands of daily life and production," he said.

Apart from preparing a development scheme, policy framework and technical infrastructure, the training of staff played an additional key part in the smooth operation of a pilot market, he said.

Power plants with capacities reaching 30MW or above (except wind or thermal powered ones) could join the market through signing contracts with the Electricity Power Trading Company who in turn will sell off electricity to distribution or retail companies from whom customers could in turn buy their own electricity.

As part of the competitive market system, power plants which offer lower prices will be given priority in order to sell their electricity. To achieve this, it is vital to set up a network amongst plants and system and market operators in order to update market information, estimated demand and potential supply.

In developing a daily supply scheme, power plants would have to announce their prices to single buyers by 10am and 3pm before the list of companies to sell electricity on the day could be decided, said an official of Vietnam Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERAV)'s Pham Quang Huy.

The list of sellers would be announced 10 minutes before their products are mobilised in order to feed the national grid.

He added that legal frameworks and regulations would be completed within this month.

ERAV would be responsible for overseeing the law enforcement of relevant parties in the market. Punishments for violations would range from warnings to a maximum fine of 40 million VND plus the revocation of licences.

Dang Minh Trong, deputy director of EVN's Information Technology Centre said that since earlier this month, centre staff visited power plants set to join the market, helping them install and operate a network to facilitate connection to entire market operations.

Installation, at around 70 plants, is set to be completed by the middle of next month, he said.

Three training courses for 300 plant technicians from across the country will be organised from May 23 to June17.

Power sector development is expected to undergo three stages including a competitive power generation market from 2005-14 during which power plants could offer to sell electricity to single buyers; a competitive wholesale market from 2015-22 by which wholesale companies could compete in buying electricity before selling to distributors and a competitive retail market from 2022 by which consumers could choose their own power suppliers.

EVN Management Board Chairman Dao Van Hung said that all EVN's relevant units were ready for the competitive generation market.

EVN have targeted to finish e-network installation by June 1 and plans to operate a trial model at intra-EVN companies soon. /.