Vietnam cuts utility bills as part of Covid-19 relief

By Anh Tu, Viet Tuan   August 2, 2021 | 05:30 pm PT
Vietnam cuts utility bills as part of Covid-19 relief
A man living in a residential area under lockdown in HCMC's District 3 receives food donated by benefactors. July 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
The government has ordered price cuts for water, electricity and telecommunication services to help households in localities that have applied social distancing to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

All families in such localities will be eligible to benefit from cheaper utility bills.

Water prices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the nation’s two biggest cities, will cost from VND3,500 to VND18,000 (78 U.S. cents) per cubic meter. The corresponding rates in other localities will be VND3,000-15,000 per cubic meter starting August 5.

In rural areas, the prices will stay at the current VND2,000-11,000. All prices are inclusive of value added taxes (VAT).

A 10 percent price cut will apply for electricity in localities that are implementing social distancing measures in line with Directive 16 as of July 30, if they use more than 200 kWh per month.

For those using less than 200 kWh per month, the electricity bill will be reduced by 15 percent.

The price cut will be applied for August and September.

Telecommunications firms, meanwhile, have been asked to reduce their fares soon to support users amid complicated and prolonged epidemic developments.

The providers – Viettel, VNPT, Mobifone, CMC, FPT, Vietnamobile and SCTV – have said they will double the bandwidth for fiber optic Internet service without changing prices. Users will receive an additional 50 percent of mobile data capacity for all current packages and new registrations.

In localities that are implementing social distancing under Directive 16, customers will be given an additional 50 minutes of on-net calls.

Vietnam is in the middle of its worst Covid-19 community wave ever.

Since late April, the nation has recorded 153,621 cases in 62 of its 63 cities and provinces, with northern Cao Bang Province the only one that is yet to record a case.

A number of localities, including HCMC and Hanoi, have imposed the Directive 16, which requires people to stay at home and only go out for essential purposes, and suspends operations of all non-essential service providers.

In some localities, even food and drink takeaway services are not allowed.

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