|Bewildered by the sudden jump in electricity bills in June, Hanoians fan out to buy electric fans to use instead of air conditioners. A woman is seen carrying a newlybought fan home. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh
HA NOI (VNS) — Many residents in Ha Noi have complained about unusually high electricity bills for May and June.
Most claim they used the same electric devices for about the same amount of time as in previous months.
Nguyen Thu Huong, a resident in Ly Nam De Street, paid VND1.3 million (US$60.4) for electricity in May. However, the bill jumped up to VND3.4 million ($158) in June.
"This is crazy!" she said, "I've prepared to pay more as the electricity price is always higher in peak month of June, but three times higher than usual is out of my imagination".
"Not to mention that we were away from home for five days," she said.
Le Ngoc Lan, resident in Hang Ma Street said he was not sure about the accuracy of staff who checked electricity meters.
"What if they make a mistake about the number of electricity units my family has consumed?," he said. "They can make mistake, and we still have to pay."
Lan had to pay the bill, which was VND450,000 ($20.90) higher than the previous month.
In response to complaints, Ha Noi Electricity Corporation blamed the recent heat wave with record-breaking temperatures of more than 40 Celsius.
It claims that this led to greater use of cooling equipment.
The average consumption of electricity in northern Viet Nam was reported to have increased by 17 per cent. In Ha Noi, the percentage was 28 per cent.
In the last days of May, consumption increased to 61.48 kWh - more than 10 per cent - compared to the peak level of last year.
The Electricity Corporation said that the more electricity unit a household consumed, the more expensive it became. For example, the basic price of the first 100 electricity unit costs VND1,433 ($0.06), but it would spike to VND1,660 ($0.07) for the next 100 units and up to VND2,399 ($0.11) when the household consumption exceeded 400 units.
Thus, consumption might double but the money consumers had to pay could be up to three times higher.
Ngo Tri Long, an economic expert, said that the explanations by the corporation was not convincing.
He said most residents did not fully understand how to calculate the price. Even an electricity bill collector did not know if asked.
"It's necessary to set up an authorised agency to inspect the work to assure transparency", he said.
The Ha Noi Electricity Corporation said it had supplied more than 1,000 cameras to electricity units to assure the accuracy of recording and calculation of power usage at every household. — VNS