Koreans are enjoying the second-lowest electricity rates among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries, a report said Wednesday.
Prices of electricity for industrial and residential use in Korea stood at 5.8 cents per kilowatt-hour and 7.7 cent kilowatt-hour in 2009, making them lower than in all OECD nations except for Canada, according to the Korean Social Trends report by Statistics Korea.
“The cost of electricity for residential purposes here is about 1.5 times cheaper than in the US Canada is the only one offering electricity at a slightly cheaper price, at 6.8 cents per kilowatt-hour,” the state-run agency said in the report.
The news comes as state electricity providers with chronic deficits struggle to provide enough power for a growing demand without another price raise this year. The state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. incurred an estimated net loss of 2 trillion won in 2010. The government last year allowed KEPCO to raise electricity prices twice in one year for the first time in three decades, by 4.9 percent in July and 4.5 percent in December.
The second raise in December came after the country had a partial power outage in September which demonstrated that the government and KEPCO hadn’t secured enough electricity reserves as losses grew at the supplier.
The report from Statistics Korea also noted that the low-income brackets tend to use more fuel, as opposed to electricity and gas.
Those earning 10 million won or less a year used 26,500 won of fuel on average in 2007. The figure for those earning 60 million won and above was 3,400 won in the same year. -By Cynthia J. Kim