utility bill arrears

South Korea will cut residential electricity bills over the summer months by $245 million it has been reported. This is in response to growing public calls to alleviate financial pressure on households amid a heatwave, the Yonhap News Agency has stated.

Updated 9 August 2018

It is expected that the cut will reduce power bills from the Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) by 19.5% on average per household. This follows a meeting between lawmakers and government officials.

The move comes as the sweltering summer heat has sparked a public backlash over the existing progressive electricity billing system for household use.

According to Paik Un-gyu, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy: "This is a temporary measure against a disaster level-heatwave. We will discuss with parliament and devise measures to reform the overall electricity billing system."

The set up of the current system has residential users bracketed into three bands, with tariffs determined on a sliding scale. The minimum rate is charged for usage below 200 kilowatts per hour (kWh), but this tariff will now be maintained for usage up to 300 KWh for July and August.

Two years ago the billing and tariff system was revamped after consumers expressed fears about using their air conditioning as they were afraid of high electricity bills.