Nearly 200 households in a remote village in Phu An commune, in southern Dong Nai province's Tan Phu district, are still without power, despite offering to pay half the cost of installing a local transformer station.

High–voltage power lines to the area, paid for by the State, were installed in 2009.

"When will the village be connected to the national power grid?" is the question on every villager's mind.

The villagers make up one-third of the total commune's population. Fruit trees such as durian and rambutan, as well as rubber trees are vital to the local economy.

Each household has at least 2 ha of arable land.

"However, about 30 percent of the households in the village still live in poverty," said local resident To Thi Minh, adding: "It is because we do not have power for production."

In the dry season, villagers are forced to use oil-powered pumps to water their trees, which costs 70 percent more than electrically powered pumps. As a result, many of the poorer households have to watch their trees die, Minh added.

Ngo Van Bang, a local resident, said his entire plantation was lost last year as a result of drought and disease. He said he will not be able to pay back his bank debts unless there is electricity.

As night falls in the village, kerosene lamps are lit, but they are a poor substitute for electric light bulbs. The situation is almost medieval.

On major holidays, such as Tet (Lunar New Year), batteries are used to supply power for lighting and music.

Ngo Van Phuc, another resident, said the cost of goods is much higher than in surrounding areas because of the village's inaccessibility. He said on rainy days the road turns muddy and is impassable.

Do Thanh Huy, chairman of the commune's People's Committee, said that funding for a local transformer station is unjustifiable because the village is sparsely populated.

"We are ready to pay," said Phuc. "We have been longing for stable power," he said./.