Electricity prices increase Dec. 20 by 5 percent to 1,304 VND (0.06 USD) excluding VAT for one kWh, Electricity of Vietnam said in a press release.

The existing average price of 1,242 VND will go up by 62 VND following decision 380/BCT-DTDL issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on Dec. 16.

The increase will not apply to the first rates on the price escalation chart, which starts from 0-50kWh for the poor – who normally use less than 50kWh of electricity per month – and from 0-100kWh for other people.

As a result, the increase will be calculated from the 101st kWh of electricity.

Poor families, who are required to register and prove they do not use not more than 50kWh of electricity a month, will still receive 30,000 VND (1.40 USD) as support from EVN.

Previously, EVN submitted a report to MoIT to ask permission to increase the price on December 13.

According to EVN's report, the group suffered a loss of 10.162 trillion VND (500 million USD) in electricity business due to low hydro-power plant production in 2010 because of insufficient water supply.

EVN had to utilise its oil-fired plants and purchase additional electricity at high prices, which caused operating costs to soar. Increased fuel prices and exchange rates contributed to rising expenses.

In a previous interview with the English-language daily Vietnam News, Deputy General Director of EVN Dinh Quang Tri said national electricity retail prices subsequently remained inadequate.

"Increasing the electricity price is a urgent need for long-term development, which is in accordance with a socialist-oriented market economy as well as the formation and development of electricity market in Vietnam ," Tri said.

"It will also help solve all existing problems in the electricity price."./.