The factory price of coal briquettes, which are mostly used by the low-income bracket, increased to 639 won, sending the consumer price, including the delivery cost, to 760-1,100 won. The government has decided to gradually raise the price of coal briquettes, which had been set below the production cost, while increasing the amount of coal briquette coupons provided to the low-income bracket instead.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy on Friday revised the “Notification of the maximum selling price of anthracite and coal briquettes,” raising the price of a coal briquette by 19.6 percent from 534.25 won to 639 won. The government forecast that the consumer price of coal briquettes in Seoul's flat areas to increase by 15.9 percent to 765 won. But the consumer price of coal briquettes on the hillsides, where the delivery cost is expensive, is likely to soar to 1,100 won.
In order to heat up a room with the typical coal briquette with 25 holes, it takes three to four coal briquettes a day. A total of 46 manufacturers manufacture coal briquettes nationwide. Even though coal briquettes only take up less than 1 percent of the entire heating fuel, they are still the major source of fuel for farmers and people in the low-income bracket.
The government has set the price of coal briquettes below its production cost since 1989 to stabilize the livelihood of people in the low income bracket and has been paying the difference to the manufactures. As of last year, the factory price of coal briquettes stood at 76 percent of the production cost. Meanwhile, the government had contained the price of coal briquettes, maintaining the price of 167 won in 1989 until 2002.
The amount of coupons provided to the beneficiaries of basic living subsidies and lower income families will increase by 29.7 percent from 313,000 won to 406,000 won. The government plans to provide the existing coupon on next Wednesday and additional coupon that is worth 93,000 won in the middle of December.
Hye-Ryung Choi firstname.lastname@example.org