Poor households are to benefit from financial assistance that has been provided to pay their power bills following the recent rise in electricity prices.

Head of the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs' Planning and Finance Department Chu Quang Cuong said the funds will be paid in cash before the 20th day of the second month in each quarter.

"Quarterly payments will help save time and human resources," he said.

"All households below the poverty level, as defined by the Prime Minister in January, will receive 30,000 VND (1.4 USD) per month, backdated to the beginning of last month," Cuong said.

He said the number of poor households under the new standards numbered at 3.2 million. A payment guide has been sent out to provincial People's Committees.

Assistance funds in the amount of 1.12 trillion VND (53.3 million USD) from the State budget will be transferred to wards and communes for allocation each quarter based on the number of poor households in their areas.

Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has asked its companies to publish procedures for poor and low-income households who use no more than 50kWh per month to register for the support.

EVN has also asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to extend the deadline for registration till April 15. The previous deadline was at the end of March.

Poor people could register to buy electricity at 993 VND (0.047 USD) per kWh instead of the average rate of 1,242 VND (0.05 USD) per kWh. Prior to the price hike, the rate was 165 VND (0.007 USD) per kWh.

EVN's deputy general director Nguyen Tan Loc said only a half of the eligible households had registered for the favourable price./.