On September 9, 2020, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) issued Circular No. 21/2020/TT-BCT on the order and procedures for issuance of electricity operating licenses (Circular 21). Circular 21 will take effect on October 26, 2020, replacing Circular No. 36/2018/TT-BCT as amended by Circular No. 15/2019/TT-BCT (together, Circular 36).
The primary purpose of Circular 21 is to promulgate updated forms and templates for the power generation sector, including templates for the electricity operating licenses themselves, requests for granting or amending such licenses, and reports on the status of various electricity activities. One new template is introduced, for the licensing authorities of provinces and municipalities to report on the granting of electricity operating licenses in their locality for the previous year.
Generally speaking, the changes introduced by Circular 21 are minor, and serve mainly to clarify aspects of Circular 36. One notable change is that the regulations on revocation of electricity operating licenses have been removed. Circular 21 also provides a more generous timeline for responding to a request to amend or supplement an application file. In particular, after an applicant receives a request from the licensing agency to amend its application file, it will have 60 business days to make such amendment, whereas such timeline under Circular 36 was not specified for applications submitted to the MOIT and Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV) via the public online portal, and was only five business days for applications for which the licensing agency was the provincial people's committee.