Electricity rates were raised by 8 won per kWh following a 13.1 won increase per kWh in January. Gas rates, which had been frozen due to concerns about ‘heating cost bombs’ during the winter, rose 1.04 won per MJ (megajoule) for the first time this year. Reflecting the progressive system, in which the price rises if you use a lot, the electricity bill for a family of four using 332 kWh per month will rise from 191.5 won to 200.6 won per kWh, and the monthly rate will rise from 63,570 won to 66,590 won. Based on the use of 3861MJ, gas will increase from 21.9 won to 23.1 won per MJ, and from 84,643 won to 89,074 won per month.
The electricity and gas rates announced this time are the prices for the second quarter, which were originally decided at the end of March and had to be applied from April. However, the ruling party continued to reject the increase proposal on the grounds that KEPCO’s self-rescue measures were not sufficient, and Deputy Prime Minister Choo Kyung-ho of Economy has postponed responsibility, saying, “The party will make the final decision.”The problem is that this hike does not contribute much to reducing the deficit of public energy companies. KEPCO, which has a cumulative deficit of 45 trillion from 2021, needs to rise by 51.6 won per kWh to normalize, but this year’s increase is 21.1 won, less than half. KOGAS also needs a 10.4 won hike to resolve its 11.6 trillion won deficit, but the actual increase was only 1/10th.
The side effects of the insolvency of energy companies are devastating. As KEPCO decides to reduce costs by more than 1 trillion won by delaying the construction of power plants and transmission and transformation grid facilities, there are great concerns that the aging power grid will become more unstable. It is also questionable whether Samsung Electronics will be able to supply power to the semiconductor cluster to be built by 2030 in time.
In the end, it is difficult to avoid additional hikes in electricity rates within the year. However, in the ruling party, there is already a saying that’this is the last impression before the general election’. So far, the government and the ruling party have blamed the failure of public energy companies on the previous government’s policy failures, but from now on, these problems will have no choice but to be left to the current government and the ruling party. It is urgent to block the intervention of politics and ideology in electricity and gas rates, and establish a pricing system that independently judges based on cost and demand.
Source: 동아닷컴 : 동아일보 전체 뉴스 by www.donga.com.
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