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Latest draft regulations could result in more increases to the cost of electricity

Update: May, 29/2013 - 12:00
Experts have raised concerns over a new draft regulation on management and adjustment of electricity retail prices that would give the State-owned Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) more power to increase electricity prices.

Under the draft, which has been recently released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, EVN would be allowed to increase electricity prices if input costs are up between 2 and 5 percent.

When input costs rise by over 5 per cent, EVN would report its proposed prices to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance for appraisal.

Within five working days after receiving EVN's proposals, the Ministry of Finance would send its appraisal to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for subsequent submission to the Prime Minister for approval.

However, EVN would be allowed to adjust electricity prices if it did not receive a reply from the Prime Minister within 15 days after the Ministry of Industry and Trade submits its proposal to the cabinet leader.

Many experts said the new regulation would give EVN to much power to increase electricity prices, which could adversely affect consumers.

Dr Tran Dinh Long, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Electrical Engineering Association, said that the regulation would allow much more room for EVN to pass down costs to their customers.

"EVN should not make hasty price hikes every time their costs go up slightly, but should instead ease up on their price increases," he said.

Economist Nguyen Minh Phong said the draft regulation failed to address the issue of price decreases in case production costs fall.

"This regulation is very clear about the rights of EVN to increase their prices, but does not mention the circumstances under which prices should be lowered. The regulation seems to pay more attention to corporate interests over consumer interests," he said.-VNS

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