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Vietnam's power supply under strain from high coal prices

Country lacks plan for reducing dependence on its most important fuel

A coal yard in Hanoi. A drop in domestic coal mining due to a coronavirus outbreak has added to Vietnam's energy problems.   © Reuters

HANOI -- Vietnam faces an increasing risk of electricity shortages as soaring prices for coal, the country's main energy source, force power plants to reduce output and progress remains slow on pursuing alternatives.

Authorities have urged people to conserve power ahead of an anticipated spike in demand during a time of year when conditions are often hot and dry in northern Vietnam, which includes Hanoi. An uncertain power supply also poses a stumbling block to an economy still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

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