Vietnam debuts with prepaid electricity service

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The Ho Chi Minh City Power Corp. has announced the launch of the first prepaid electricity service in the country this month, describing it as a purchase option that can help save power consumption.

News website VnExpress reported Friday that customers with a prepaid account can buy top-up cards to continue buying electricity if the account has run out of money.

The power company, a subsidiary of state utility Electricity of Vietnam, will first offer the service on a trial basis to residential customers, said Nguyen Anh Vu, its public relations manager.

As customers know their electricity consumption and how much they are paying for it, they could reduce their power use by up to 20 percent, Vu said.

He said the prepaid purchase option would also allow the company to cut operations costs. Right now its staff members have to go to each and every household to check electricity meters and collect monthly data on power use. Then they return, usually a week later, to collect the bill.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade announced the plan to start using prepaid electricity meters in the country in February. It said prices of prepaid electricity will be set at 30 percent higher than the current average power tariff, which is VND1,639 per kilowatt-hour.

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