In May, 2020, due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, I heard about a reduction in electricity bills. However, my landlord charged a higher price for domestic electricity than usual even though the two parties had reached an agreement on the price under the State's regulation. I want to know if my landlord's action was illegal. Please kindly give me an advice. Thank you.
Thank you for concerning our legal service. Regarding your case, we would like to provide you with our legal opinions:
To relieve the difficulties due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued Official Letter 2698/BCT-DTDL on reducing electricity prices and reducing electricity bills for users affected by the Covid-19 epidemic as follows:
- Retail price for customers using domestic electricity: 10% discount on selling price of domestic electricity from level 1 to level 4 specified in Decision No. 648/QD-BCT.
3. Total time that customers are supported to reduce electricity prices and reduce electricity bills is three
(03) months. The specific time of electricity price reduction and electricity bill reduction is as follows:
- For customers using domestic electricity, the customer's used electricity output has a cycle starting in April, May, and June 2020 (determined according to the monthly index recording period of the electricity unit) will be offered a corresponding discount in the electricity bill periods of May, June, and July 2020.
- For customers using electricity for production, business, administrative and non-business...: From the latest invoice period from the date of issue of this Official Letter."
Thus, according to the mentioned Official Letter, the price of domestic electricity will be reduced by 10% of the retail price of domestic electricity within three (03) months of April, May, and June respectively in the periods of electricity bill for May, June, and July 2020.
In case where your landlord took an action of collecting the high-priced electricity fare, he/she violated the law regulation on electricity use. Depending on the nature of the acts, this person may be fined under Clause 6, Article 12 of Decree 134/2013/ND-CP on sanction against administrative violation in the field of electricity, safety of hydroelectric dam, thrifty and effective use of energy:
"6. A fine of between 7,000,000 dong and 10,000,000 shall be imposed on the lessor who collects the electricity charge from the tenant higher than the prescribed price in case of buying electricity at a retailing price for domestic use."
In addition, your landlord is also subject to the remedial measure of being forced to pay the entire amount illegally obtained to the State budget as prescribed in Clause 12, Article 12 of the Decree above.
The above is FDVN's advice regarding your request based on studying legal regulations. FDVN hopes that our advice will be useful to you.
Nguyen Thi Suong - FDVN Law Firm
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