Vietnam capital dims street lights to save energy during heatwave

Vietnam capital dims street lights to save energy during heatwave
Record temperatures are bringing a surge in demand for power in some parts of Vietnam.
PHOTO: Straits Times

HANOI - The authorities in Vietnam's capital of Hanoi are turning off street lights to keep the national power system running amid record temperatures bringing a surge in demand in some parts of the nation.

As weather officials warn the heatwave could run into June, several cities have cut back on public lighting after state utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) said rising demand for air-conditioning could burden the national grid further.

"It's so harsh and hot outside that people have to wear protective clothing to cool down and not get burned," said Hanoi resident Tran Van Hung, 67.

Temperatures this week are expected to range between 26 deg C and 38 deg C, weather officials say.

To deal with the problem, Hanoi turns on its public lighting half an hour later than usual and switches it off half an hour earlier, while halving illumination on some major roads and in public parks.

"If people all save energy, all will have enough electricity to use, if not, there will be a partial electrical overload that will put the power grid at risk," said Mr Luong Minh Quan, an electrician with EVN in Hanoi.

Last week, Vietnam called for electrical devices to be turned off when not in use and for air-conditioning to be kept above 26 deg C.

Some people chose to cool off at a water park, though experts say activity in extreme heat can cause dehydration and exhaustion.

"The water can help overcome the heat, as there are no other immediate solutions," said Mr Tran Minh Trung, 48.

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