Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bangkok Rental Apartments, Condo's and Electricity Prices

Having spent the last few days looking for a new condo/ apartment to rent I have been surprised at the wide variation in prices you have to pay for electricity.

Where I stay at the moment I pay the Metropolitan Electricity Authority myself, at the rate of about 3.5 baht a unit. Of the 8 places I have looked at in the last few days none have allowed this. Instead you have to buy the electricty at exhorbitant rates from the buildings owner who pays the MEA the normal 3.5 baht rate.

Now, I understand that this has been going on for years and years but is it fair ? A lot of people probably do not know that the MEA charges only 3.5 baht a unit, and they are getting ripped off when they pay a rental fee, plus anything from 5 - 16 baht a unit for electricty for similar sized accomodation!!

So what seems like a competitive rent on its own is far from it.

There seems to be an argument that because you do not pay a maintenance charge for these properties that the increased electricity prices are justified. But if thats the case, why the large variation ? Think about it.

Does the maintenance needed increase because of you use 100 units of electricity or 5000 units ? I don't think so.

There is also another view that the huge 'mark up' in prices is just another way of having an increased rent without the punter realising it until after they sign the contract.

I pay about 2000 baht a month for my electricity, so at 12 baht a unit which some people demand, my electricity bill would be nearly 7000 baht a month! Thats a tidy profit in anyones book. In fact the profit on the electricity would be a quarter of my present monthly rent !

So my warning to anyone wanting to rent in Bangkok ( and probably elsewhere in Thailand )is beware of the added costs of electricity. Your good deal on rent could easily be eroded by the cost of electricity, making a good deal NO GOOD ! Unless of course you do not intend using aircon etc :)

It is far better to rent from a private landlord who agrees for you to pay the MEA yourself, even if it means leaving him a few thousand baht extra deposit in case you default. In addition, get a property where you have access to the electricity meter so you can read it yourself.


  1. Anonymous10:19 AM

    I think many of the condo units in popular tourist, business and commercial areas such as Sukhumvit, Thong Lo or Lang Suan will charge high prices for electricity as a way of making more money. If you can find a condo/apartment which is intended for both Thais and foreigners the rates will be more reasonable.

    I live in the Ari area and pay between 1,000-1,200 per month for electricity, which I think is okay.

  2. I live in Sukhumvit soi 16, mine is 6 baht a unit, which for the price of the rent I found acceptable being a condo... I started paying 2800 baht a month... the problem came after, after 2 months the price increased mysteriously to 4000, and one month it went up to 6000, and the way is going this one they're trying to charge me 8000, and I am out of the house all day long... this is mainly the AC... I am nearly sure they are increasing the consumption somehow... I pass from expending 15 watt a day to 50 now for no reason, I check the counter everyday... and the other problem is that my contract is for 1 year... so I have to stand this situation for 8 more month... I either go to Chinatown to find one of those machines to trick the counter or I'll have a fight with the manager which will end up nowhere...