Cooling bills support expanded as Korea braces for hotter summer

Schools, welfare facilities for seniors, children and people will disabilities will all be given electricity bill relief subsidies, with possible further support on the way.

Kim Arin

Kim Arin

The Korea Herald


Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon (center) and the rest of the ruling People Power Party leadership met with education and energy officials at an elementary school in Yeouido, central Seoul, on Tuesday to discuss energy bill support scheme. (Yonhap)

June 28, 2023

SEOUL – South Korea’s ruling party leaders and government officials on Tuesday agreed to expand the energy bill support scheme as the weather agency has forecast a hotter than average summer for much of the country.

The measures announced on this day at a meeting of the People Power Party leaders and officials of the Energy and Education Ministries focused on schools and vulnerable households, with possible further support on the way.

Schools across the country will be each afforded with an extra 24 million won ($18,466), on top of the 52 million won they were initially allotted, the ruling party and the government said. The increase in support is intended to cover this year’s electricity bill per school, which is estimated at around 68 million won. City- and municipal-level education offices will also be receiving government support for the maintenance and repair of air conditioning units in schools.

Aside from schools, welfare facilities for seniors, children and people will disabilities will be given electricity bill relief subsidies for July and August as well.

Low-income households on welfare benefits will have waived the hike in their electricity bills applied last month to offset the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp’s deficit. Eligibility for these energy bill vouchers will be expanded to around 1,135,000 households from the previous 837,000.

People Power Party’s chair Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon said the decision to raise electricity fees, reached last month, was inevitable with publicly run power company Kepco accumulating losses that total some 40 trillion won as of last year, and soaring energy prices globally.

“The People Power Party is determined to make sure that no vulnerable households or essential facilities like schools suffer from the higher costs,” he said.

The ruling party leader attributed Kepco mounting record losses to the previous Moon Jae-in administration exiting nuclear energy, dropping plans to build new nuclear power plants and not extending the lifespan of existing ones.

Rep. Park Dae-chul, the head of the People Power Party’s policy committee, said keeping children and staff at schools cool is a priority as a hotter and wetter summer than usual is expected.

“Our kids are our future, and we cannot have them stuck in hot classrooms because schools cannot keep up with energy bills,” he said. “Energy bill concerns should not prevent schools from keeping their classrooms cool.”

scroll to top