The Ministry of Industry and Trade on on Feb. 15 asked provincial People's Committees to keep looming power cuts at a minimum.

The ministry also urged that power cuts to be evenly distributed among localities during the coming dry season.

In a document sent to localities on on Feb. 15, the ministry predicted the demand for power this year willrise by 16 to 17 percent over last year, which willput huge pressure on the national electricity grid.

Due to a serious drought in 2010, water levels at reservoirs at hydro-power plants are very low.

In addition, several new thermal-power plants in the north are yet to generate stable power supplies while a breakdown at the Phu My 3 power plant on January 23 cut power production at the plant by 50 percent. Repairs at the plant are expected to take three months.

The ministry required committees to ask their local Department of Industry and Trade to cooperate with local power companies to map out plans for power supplies during the dry season.

The plans must include figures on the power output allocated to each province and city as well as monthly schedules for planned power cuts.

Scheduled power cuts must also prioritise important political and social events held at various localities and establishments such as hospitals that require constant power supplies.

Local departments of Industry and Trade were also asked to cooperate with power companies to launch programmes encouraging people and households to take measures to save power./.