The power supply from the national grid is expected to pave the way for socio-economic development on Phu Quoc island when an underwater 110kV cable connecting the island with Ha Tien town is installed later this month.

According to the Southern Power Company under the Electricity of Vietnam Corporation (EVN), construction of the 55.813km Phu Quoc - Ha Tien cable is scheduled to start on November 21 and be completed next January 13. It will cost nearly 2 trillion VND (nearly 95 million USD).

Household customers as well as tourism businesses on the island are facing power shortages.

In areas powered by Kien Giang Electricity Co., household customers pay over 5,000 VND while businesses pay nearly 8,000 VND per kWh, compared with the price of 1,500 VND per kWh on the mainland.

Tran Ngoc Nga, deputy director of Thien Hai Son Hotel in Duong Dong Town, said a 100-room hotel must pay 450 million VND (21,000 USD) per month, three times as high compared with the electricity bills of a hotel of the same scale on the mainland.

Le Minh Hoang, director of Kien Giang Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that poor infrastructure development, especially shortages of electric power supply, has been one of the major hindrances facing development on Phu Quoc.

Hoang said of the 13 tourism projects on the island, only Ba Keo Resort in Duong Dong Town was supplied with electricity from the Kien Giang Electricity Power Company.

"This is a major problem that hinders efforts to attract investment to Phu Quoc," Hoang was quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying.

The operation of the Phu Quoc International Airport has helped increase the number of tourist arrivals in Phu Quoc by over 30 percent, leading to an overload at existing hotels and guesthouses, according to Huynh Quang Hung, deputy chairman of the Phu Quoc district People's Committee.

Investors of a number of tourism projects licensed in the past few years resumed construction after hearing of the national grid connection.

To prepare for the cable link, a 76.7 billion VND (3.6 million USD), 18.2km transmission line linking Kien Luong and Ha Tien has been built.

Two transformers worth 156.2 billion VND (7.4 million USD) in Ha Tien and Phu Quoc and a 7.6km 110kV tranmission line linking Ham Ninh and Phu Quoc, worth 101.8 billion VND (4.8 million USD), have also been built.

The number of hotel and guest rooms on the island could double in two years after Phu Quoc is linked with the national grid, Hung said.

He said thousands of electricity poles had been installed on the island, awaiting the power supply from the national grid to reach households in rural areas.

Water plant

A project to build a 296 billion VND (12 million USD) water plant on Phu Quoc island has been approved by the provincial authority of Kien Giang in the Mekong Delta.

The plant, which is scheduled to become operational in 2016, can supply 16,500cu.m of clean water per day.

According to Nguyen Duc Hien, director of the State-owned Kien Giang Water Supply - Drainage Co. Ltd., facilities of the plant include a 16,500cu.m/day water treatment plant and 50km of pipelines.

Hien said 74 percent of funding for construction of the plant will come from a World Bank's loan and 26 percent from counter-capital of the company.

All necessary formalities for the loans have been completed and construction of the water plant is scheduled to start in 2014, Hien said.

According to figures released by the investor, Phu Quoc has a total of 950 million cubic metres of rainfall per year and the planned reservoirs can help supply water for local residents' daily activities, production and tourism industry on the island.

Hien said the existing water supply plant on Phu Quoc can supply 5,000cu.m of water per day to 110,000 local residents and visitors on the island.

Such a small water plant cannot meet the demand in the future as Phu Quoc has been developing very rapidly and will soon become a Category 2 city and a special administrative and economic zone affiliated with the Central Government, Hien was quoted as saying by the Vietnam Investment Review.-VNA