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Electricity Used in the Home

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 electricity at exorbitant rates from the building's owner who pays the MEA the normal 3.5 baht rate.

Electricity Price Scam or Not?

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 electricity for similar sized accommodation.
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 that's 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! That's a tidy profit in anyone's 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.

UPDATE: April, 2020

This post is still relevant today. People are still getting a shock when they rent a condo at a cheaper than normal price only to find they are paying the landlord for electricity at a higher rate than that charged to the landlord by the authorities.

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