Enterprises threaten to sue power supplier over outage

July 17, 2009

LookAtVietnam – Hiep Phuoc Power Company will likely face a collective lawsuit to be lodged by dozens of enterprises in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park and the utility company on Wednesday resolutely affirmed that it would not supply electricity for them

At a meeting here on Wednesday between enterprises and relevant units to solve the problem, 60 enterprises in the industrial park insisted the power company ensure continuous power supply for their production or take responsibility for estimated losses of over US$6 million.

Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, deputy general director of the Saigon Premier Container Terminal Company, told the meeting that the project developer had pledged to the city government to open a new terminal this year but that the progress and the quality of the project could be compromised if the electricity company cuts power for four days.

“Time is money, so we cannot accept a four-day power cut because of the construction of the terminal,” Quynh said.

She listed damages, such as loss of cement, disruption of freighter schedule and loss of the use of database systems and estimated a loss of US$550,000 in the case of a four day power cut.

Quynh insisted that Hiep Phuoc Power take responsibility for full compensation for the container terminal which is being built at Nha Be Industrial Park.

Le Huu Sang, production manager of Saint-Goban Company, which produces gypsum products, said that after he calculated worker salaries, order delays and other damages from a four-day blackout, the company’s total losses could be some US$120,000.

“I hope Hiep Phuoc Power Company will consider operating an electric generator to supply power for the enterprises, otherwise, I require the company to take responsibility for our economic losses,” Sang said.

At least 10 food producers operating at the industrial park stood up and mentioned economic losses and said it was high time for them to accelerate their export orders. Each one anticipated losses of over US$100,000 in the event of a blackout.

Henry Lin, deputy general director of Hiep Phuoc Power Company, said that he felt very sorry about the enterprises’ tentative economic losses due to the power cut, but noted that for the sake of national interest and for the technical safety, his company had no alternative choice but to cut the power.

“I’m very sorry, but Hiep Phuoc Power is also an enterprise like you, so we don’t have any other choice,” Henry told the enterprises.

Henry said his company could not run one electric generator due to smaller demand of enterprises in the industrial park. The company has three generators, each with a minimum power output of 55 megawatts, while the combined demand in the park is just some 20 megawatts. So technically, one generator could not run under its minimum output capacity.

Nguyen Xuan Han, general director of Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park Joint Stock Company as the IP’s infrastructure developer, vented his anger when he heard the explanation from Henry.

“We completely disagree with this explanation for the power cut,” he exploded.


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