PC Son La: Effort to Electrify Remote Areas

12:34:18 AM | 11/2/2015

Rural electrification is changing the face of countryside, mountainous and remote areas. After more than two years carrying out the project “Providing access to national power grid for ethnic minorities in Son La province," Son La Power Company (PC Son La) has supplied electricity to nearly 600 villages in 106 communes in the province. When this project is completed in late 2015, Son La province will have more than 30,000 households with access to the national power grid, raising the proportion of households with electricity in the province to 87 percent.
The project, started from May 2012, is one of the key tasks of Northern Power Corporation and PC Son La in order to complete the power system in far-lying areas in Son La province.
With a relatively low rate of households with access to electricity (75.2 percent in at the end of 2010), the province has paid much attention to investing in power supply. From 1994 to 2004, the Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) built medium-voltage transmission lines and power transformer stations to communes across the province; hence, the construction of low-voltage transmission lines to user households was favourable and cost-effective.
Since the launch of the project “Providing access to national power grid for ethnic minorities in Son La province,” PC Son La has mobilised central and local budgets while seeking support sources like Programme 30A - the programme that supports poverty reduction in the most rapid and sustainable manner in 61 extremely poor districts, Programme 135 – a social and economic development programme in extremely poor communes in mountainous communes where ethnic groups live, and Son La Hydropower Plant Resettlement Programme. Up to now, the rural electrification programme in the province of Son La provided national electricity to all 204 communes and wards and supplied electricity to 216,000 households, or 84.3 percent of the total (rural households with access to electricity were 175,300, or 81.4 percent of the total).
Currently, Son La Power Company is managing over 3,340 km of medium-voltage lines, more than 3,393 km of low-voltage lines, 1,447 transformer substations, four intermediate transformer substations, and 218,032 customers in 204 communes, wards and towns in 12 districts and cities. After the project “Providing access to national power grid for ethnic minorities in Son La province” is completed, 27,000 households in 380 villages still do not have access to electricity. To cover this shortfall, the province will need to build 1,000 km of medium-voltage lines, 380 transformer substations and 1,500 km of low-voltage lines. In 2020, the province targets to supply electricity to 99 percent of households in the province.
Supplying electricity to ethnic minorities in remote areas and border areas in Son La province is a very important breakthrough in infrastructure investment, as it helps draw investors and boost economic development. Besides, this will help local people give up nomadic habits and lead a stable life.
However, the estimated investment for electrification increased because more people arrived to live in the province and pay for workers were higher than the project estimated costs. Therefore, PC Son La hopes central and provincial governments will revise up the investment value for the project “Providing access to national power grid for ethnic minorities in Son La province”, to complete it in late 2015 as scheduled.