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|Electricity workers repairing the power lines in Lao Cai City, the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai. The Government Inspectorate yesterday announced a 35-day review of the electricity price hike that has drawn widespread complaints in recent times. - VNA/VNS Photo Quốc Khánh|
Bui Ngọc Lam, deputy head of the watchdog, said it would look into the “observance of legal regulations” in the price hike that took effect from March 20 this year, as well how an 8.36 per cent rise was chosen.
The 12-member inspection team will be made up of officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, led by inspector Le Quang Tiep, deputy head of economic complaints and denunciations department.
Tiep previously headed the inspection into the illegal acquisition of pay TV firm AVG by State-owned telecom operator Mobifone at a price much higher than the market value.
Lam asked State-owned power company Vietnam Electricity (EVN), which has a monopoly over power distribution and prices, and the ministries to work closely with the inspection team during the probe.
Earlier, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said the tariff increase should have taken place a year previously, if not for the Government’s commitment to contain inflation, but many people have complained that their monthly bills are abnormally high.
EVN has attributed the significant increase in power bills to the timing of the price hike in late March, with hot spells leading to temperatures climbing above 37 degrees Celsius in many regions across the country, which led to greater usage of air-conditioners and fans.
Responding to public outcry, earlier this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked Government Inspectorate, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to investigate the price hike and report back in June.