Economising on household electricity consumption will help HCM City avoid shortages this summer, a power-utility official has said.

Le Van Phuoc, general director of the Electricity of Vietnam's HCM City Co (EVN HCMC), said if domestic users could reduce usage by 10 percent, the City grid could save around 2 million kWh a day, ruling out the need for power cuts.

As ofMarch 15, EVN HCMC had not resorted to power cuts due to shortages, he said.

But it has been forecast that demand can reach 48.4 million kWh a day this month while EVN can only supply 46.9 million kWh.

The shortage could increase to 2 million kWh a day in April and May before dropping to 350,000 kWh in June.

Phuoc said EVN HCM City has contingency plans for power management and distribution when there are shortages of 2 to 10 percent, with priority given to major Government agencies, hospitals, and traffic signs.

For commercial and household users, power cuts will be uniform and transparent with announcements made in advance.

Even in case of serious shortages, no consumer will suffer outages for more than twice a day and four times a week.

Addressing a with EVN HCMC last week, the Committee secretary, Le Thanh Hai, said the municipal Party company should ensure sufficient supply to the manufacturing, business, tourism, and service sectors and domestic consumers.

He also called on citizens to economise on power consumption and urged Government agencies to reduce usage by at least 10 percent.

Electrical power savings in HCM City have been increasing year on year, partly due to more energy-efficient use of electricity, said Huynh Kim Tuoc, director of HCM City Energy Conservation Centre at a Marc h 15 press briefing on power consumption during the 2005-10 period.

Three years ago, the city consumed 900kWh of electricity per 1,000 USD GDP growth, but last year that figure fell to under 700kWh.

Between 2005 and 2010, the city saved nearly 6 per cent of electricity consumption, equivalent to 900 million kWh or a savings of 900 billion VND (43 million USD) annually. Tuoc said the city saved 786 million kWh last year.

Currently, each day the city faces a shortage of 2 million kWh of electricity.

For the five-year period, the average electricity use of each individual was 1,800kWh, a 2.3-fold increase compared with figures from the rest of the country. The amount, however, fell in 2009 and 2010.

About 40 percent of power in the city is consumed for industrial production, and about 30 per cent for household use.

In the future, power consumption will primarily be from buildings and transport projects such as the metro system.

Tuoc also noted that metro routes would each need a capacity of 140 MW of energy. The future metro system in the city would require huge amounts of energy, he added.

For the 2005-10 period, electricity consumption by industry fell as a result of companies using more advanced technology in production.

Power for household use, however, is expected to increase as living conditions of residents improve.

During the next five years, the city plans to save 3-5 pe cent of the city's electricity, based on a sustainable development strategy for the city.

In order to save 600 million-1 billion of kWh of electricity each year from now, the city will disseminate more information to residents and the business community about the importance of energy conservation.

It also plans to limit projects that waste power and will encourage investors to fund energy-efficient projects./.