Tenants bearing brunt of power price hike

The power prices have escalated by 15.28 percent since March 1, with Government policies to assist poor people including tenants by giving them preferential price rates. Despite this, many people still suffer the brunt of high pricing.

Tenants of rental rooms pay a very high electricity rate set by owners (Photo: SGGP)

Within two weeks of the power price hike, many house owners in Ho Chi Minh City began to increase their prices, which were already higher than the regulated prices.

In an alley off Pham Van Bach Street in Tan Binh District, there are several boarding houses. Each room is only 7-9 square meters but rental costs are VND1-1.5 million, nearly a month’s salary for a worker.

Along with the power price increase, the prices of other commodities have also went up making the tenants life even more difficult.

Nguyen Thi Lai, one of the tenants said that since the beginning of March, the room owner announced to raise the electricity price from VND2,500 to VND3,000 a kwh. Added to this the host doubled the water and garbage collecting price as well.

With an average income of about four million a month, her four-member family has difficulty coping now. Although the room rents are surging, Lai’s family does not intend to look for another place as changing accommodation would not change their situation.

Retail power prices since March 1

0 – 100kwh: VND1,242 per kwh for all except the poor, who will pay only VND994 per kwh for the first 50kwh.

101 – 150kwh: VND1,317 per kwh

151 – 200kwh: VND1,664 per kwh

201 – 300kwh: VND1,801 kwh

301 – 400kwh: VND1,925 kwh

Over 401kwh: VND1,975 kwh
Similarly, at other renting room areas for workers and students in Thu Duc, Go Vap and 12 districts, the electricity prices have been hiked by VND500-1,000 per kwh to cost an average of VND3, 000-4,000 per kwh.

House owners just raise the electricity price without any documents, causing difficulty for authorized organizations to handle.

Nguyen Van Lai, head of the Department of Industry and Trade said that the department will continue coordinating with districts and the HCMC Power Corporation to investigate the retail power prices at rented houses in the city.

Meanwhile, an official of the Corporation said that if house owners collect power prices much higher than the regulated retail prices, tenants should inform the company or its subsidiaries. After receiving information, they will delegate staff to investigate and issue penalties to the house masters.

In Resolution 68/2010/NĐ-CP, the Government regulations state that those buying electricity at retail prices for daily activities and sell to outside organizations or individuals will pay penalties of VND2-4 million.

The fine will be VND7-10 million for those buying energy for production or service operations but sell it to other organizations or individuals.

In addition, the money violators collect by selling power will be confiscated.

By Lac Phong – Translated by Thien Cong

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