Vietnam's bid to save energy has business steaming

STORY: Vietnam is trying to save energy amid a searing heatwave.

Temperatures this week have hit 44 celsius - or over 110 Fahrenheit.

That has the power grid under strain as air conditioners are cranked up all day.

Authorities have tried to cut energy in response, taking measures including switching off street lights.

Big firms have switched operations to off-peak hours.

But for smaller businesses like restaurants it’s a bigger problem.

Nguyen Quoc Duy runs a hotpot restaurant in Hanoi:

"Power cuts happen quite often at my restaurant; sometimes two or three times a day, sometimes twice in the morning and twice in the evening. Customers complained that when the power is cut off, eating hotpot is impossible as there won’t be any running fans or air conditioning. The power cut made it so complicated to run a business, as we lose credibility with customers, and together with it, our income.”

Many eateries are now renting power generators to keep the air conditioning running.

One dealer told Reuters he’d rented out 10 large generators each day since Monday (May 29), and was struggling to meet demand for new orders.

Air conditioner sales are also soaring.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh is a dealer:

“With this extreme weather, our sales have increased by 60-70%. But the forecast says that this year there will be a new record for heat due to El Nino, so I expect demand for our stock will keep rising.”

Generators aren’t an option for most families.

Daily running costs of around $50 are too much for most households.

That leaves many Vietnamese with no option but to sweat out a summer forecast to be one of the hottest on record.