The 7.5 percent increase in electricity prices from March 16 is forecast to raise this year’s consumer price index (CPI) by 0.23 percent, said Nguyen Anh Tuan, Director General of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Electricity Regulatory Authority.

The hike will translate into an additional 4,800 VND (0.22 USD) for each household consuming 50 kWh of power a month, while those using 100 kWh a month will pay about 9,800 VND (0.46 USD) more, he said.

Tuan added since the price rise will affect low-income and disadvantaged families, State financial support for the electricity bills of these households will be increased by 153 billion VND (7.28 million USD) a year from the current 1 trillion VND (47.61 million USD).

A survey by Vietnam News Agency reporters shows that the price augmentation will have its largest impact on big power-consuming industries.

Truong Quoc Huy, General Director of the Vicem But Son Cement Joint Stock Company, said his firm uses about 100 kWh of electricity to produce one tonne of cement. Since power prices for manufacturing are higher than those for households, the power price hike will likely affect production costs and selling prices.

Electricity expenses account for about 7 percent of steel billet production costs. Between 400 and 600 kWh of power are needed to produce one tonne of steel billet, according to Chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association Ho Nghia Dung.

He estimated the 7.5 percent hike will raise steel production expenses by 80,000-100,000 VND (3.75-4.68 USD) per tonne, adding that it will be a burden for steel makers amid an a array of challenges such as decreasing prices of steel billet from China and Japan.

Vu Ngoc Bao, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the Vietnam Pulp and Paper Association, said the power price escalation will cause a 0.5-0.8 percent rise in the industry’s manufacturing costs.

Huy and Bao suggested businesses minimise other expenses and consider accepting a profit decline to account for the power price increase.-VNA