Most lights illuminating buildings and streets in Hanoi, Hai Phong and Da Nang have been switched off or are being turned on later than normal to save electricity.
Lights along the central streets of Hanoi were turned on 30 minutes later than normal on Thursday, while all decorative lights, and lights from advertisement billboards were dimmed.
On Le Van Luong Street, the lights were left off, except for those at intersections.
For four-lane streets such as Pham Van Dong and Vo Van Kiet, one-third of all lights were left off after 7 p.m., and another one-third were switched off beginning at 11 p.m.
Around the Sword Lake in the city center, one out of every three or four light poles was switched off.
The lighting systems for flower gardens and sidewalks around the lake were nearly all shut off, with only just enough lights left on to ensure public safety and security.
Office buildings nearby the lake only kept lights on for security, and all lights meant for decorations were turned off.
Heat waves have continued to rage in Vietnam, especially in the north and central regions, causing a surge in power demand, which has threatened to strain the national grid.
Hanoi late last month began dimming its street and decorative lights. Vietnam’s capital aims to reduce the output of its public lighting system by half this year.
In the same manner, the northern port city of Hai Phong also went darker this week.
On Thursday, the area surrounding the Hai Phong Opera House, which is normally lit up at night, was engulfed in darkness.
“The lights off at the Opera House started three days ago, when the heat was at its peak,” said Phan Hang, a local who lives 300 meters away from the theater.
The headquarters of the Hai Phong City People’s Committee, the Central Post Office, the city museum, and the lighting system along the Hoang Van Thu Bridge, all of which are normally illuminated by decorative lights from 6:45 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. every night, have been dark for three days now.
A representative from Hai Phong Electric Lighting JSC said aside from decorative lights, street lights in the city would also be dimmed for a temporary period to cut at least 30% of the city’s usual energy consumption.
In Quang Ninh Province, home to Ha Long Bay, the capital Quang Ninh Town has been switching off its street lights on a rotation basis.
Across the province, restaurants, hotels, commercial service establishments, office complexes and apartment buildings have reduced their outdoor advertising lighting capacity by 50%.
Le Trong Thanh, deputy CEO of Tung Lam Yen Tu Development JSC, which operates the Yen Tu Tourism Site in Quang Ninh, said half of all public lighting at the site had been switched off and the company has also turned to using induction lamps, which only light up when someone is near.
Tourists staying at hotels in Yen Tu have been asked to keep their air conditioners at 26 degrees Celsius at the lowest.
“The sum earned from saving electricity will be later used to reward the staff so all of them are willing to save as much energy as they could,” said Thanh.
In the central city of Da Nang, People’s Committee chairman Le Trung Chinh has requested that all decorative and advertisement lights be dimmed from 8 p.m.
Also from 8 p.m. every night, all restaurants, hotels, commercial service establishments, office complexes and apartment buildings must reduce their outdoor advertising lighting capacity by 50%.
The area around the Han River in downtown Da Nang before and after the city adopted a policy to reduce electricity consumption. Photos by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
The goal is to save at least 30% of the city’s total public lighting electricity consumption, even when the city is in the peak of the tourism season, he said.
Tran Thi Be, director of Pariat Hotel in Hai Chau District, said that even before the city issued the power-saving policy, her hotel had been implementing a plan to cut power consumption.
“For two months now, we have replaced all our regular light bulbs with LED lights, and during peak hours, we have pre-set notifications to remind employees to turn off all unnecessary electrical equipment. Employees who need to take the elevator must wait to ride it in a large group instead of taking it individually.”
She revealed that such actions saved almost VND40 million (US$1,700) on electric bills for the hotel in May.
Northern localities are experiencing a heat wave with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius at certain points of day.
According to the state utility Vietnam Electricity, or EVN, the El Nino phenomenon, which results in less rains and more heat waves, will cause challenges this summer.
Water levels in northern hydropower plants are currently lower than normal. In fact, 18 large dams were less than 20% full on April 24.
EVN predicted in April that the northern region could see a power shortage of 1,600-4,900 megawatts between May and July.
EVN’s coal-fired power plants are reporting that their target production faces a 1.3-million-ton shortfall.
The two main coal suppliers, Vinacomin and Dong Bac, will only be able to provide 46 million tons this year, 11.5% lower than required.