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May 04, 2019 / 17:14

PM orders checking of power price hike following social outcry

A large number of households found a sudden rise in their electric bills in April.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the Government Inspectorate (GI) to check the rise of 8.36% in the power prices which Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) made in March amid public indignation. 
A hydropower plant of EVN. Illustrative photo
A hydropower plant of EVN. Illustrative photo
The GI needs to work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), which manages EVN, and the Ministry of Finance to check the calculation of electricity prices and the bill collection since the price hike.

The PM’s decision was made after a large number of households criticized EVN for a sudden rise in their electric bills in April. 

On March 20, EVN raised the average price of electricity by 8.36% to VND1,850 (8 US cent) per kWh, excluding valued added tax (VAT). The previous power price hike took place on December 1, 2017 with a rise of 6.08%.

The public anger remains uneased after EVN explained that the higher bills were driven by hot waves, higher consumption, and price hike. 

In April, many households found that their electric bills were two-, three-, even five-fold that in March. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of the MOIT Hoang Quoc Vuong said that the bills would be maximum 8.36-8.38% as high as those in the previous month of the consumption remains unchanged, VnExpress has reported. Vuong also said that the ministry would re-calculate the accumulative prices for electricity consumption. 

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh pledged to set up teams to check the calculation at EVN’s members, according to VnExpress. 

After the power price hike, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue asked the MOIT to cooperate with the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s General Statistics Office (GSO) to keep a close watch on the impacts of the power price hike, both direct and indirect dimensions. 

Hue also asked the MOIT to make public the input cost and business results.

In a related move, an increase in the electricity prices in March together with two hikes in gasoline prices in April have pushed up consumer price index (CPI) in April by 0.31%, according to the GSO.

The deputy PM has asked ministries and localities to curb inflation at 3.3-3.9% throughout 2019.