Power prices should have been increased more: MoIT

16:10 | 23/05/2019 Industry

Electricity retail prices should have been raised by 9.26 percent instead of 8.36 percent if Vietnam Electricity (EVN) had correctly calculated the 3.26 trillion VND foreign exchange rate difference in 2018 into its power production costs.

An electricity worker inspects a transformer station - Source: vnexpress

The information was released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in a report to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Electricity tariffs were raised by 8.36 percent to 1,864 VND (8.03 US cents) on March 20. However, many households have complained about sudden increases in their electricity bills, which doubled or tripled in April compared with previous months.

In response, the PM has instructed the MoIT to check on the increase as well as its impacts on the consumer price index (CPI). In the report, the MoIT said the power tariff increase had been submitted to the Government for approval.

It said increasing input prices of coal and gas, along with the foreign exchange rate difference, made electricity production costs increase by 20 trillion VND (almost 855.5 million USD). Of which, coal added more than 7.33 trillion VND while oil and gas added 7.39 trillion VND.

The ministry also said the current different pricing scheme for households and businesses was also being applied around the world. However, the scheme would be recalculated to ensure fairness among households.

The MoIT also added that EVN had followed the correct procedures in calculating power bills.

The group received and answered more than 71,500 requirements from customers relating to electricity bills in April.

At the 7th session of the 14th National Assembly (NA) which opened in Hanoi on May 20, the NA asked the Government to report on recent increase of electricity and petrol prices and their effects on CPI and socio-economic development. Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said authorities had been investigating and clarifying the increases to ensure transparency.

EVN Chairman Duong Quang Thanh said the group was building a pilot plan for the competitive electricity retail market it would submit to the MoIT for approval in July. Thanh said they had been working to equitise three power generation corporations and developing a National Load Dispatch Centre (NLDC). They would also privatise its retail power service for the electricity retail market by 2021.

He added that EVN would complete a plan to separate power distribution and retail toward the establishment of a competitive electricity retail market. EVN said consumption could go up to 800 million kWh per day during May and June as the weather gets hotter. Summer heat intensifies while water shortage constrains power production.

Weather experts have warned that Vietnam should brace for more heat waves this summer. Meanwhile, electricity production is facing challenges as reservoirs in the central and southern regions are low on water. Despite these challenges, EVN has guaranteed that it will supply enough electricity this year.