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Electricity Charge Hike Expected for Latter Half

Posted May. 23, 2008 03:48,   


Electricity charges, which have been frozen to stabilize consumer prices, are expected to jump in the latter half of this year.

Vice Knowledge Economy Minister Lee Jae-hoon held a press conference yesterday and said, “It is unavoidable to increase electricity charges. Next year will be too late. The charges must be raised this year one way or another.”

Lee explained that there was a 7.6 percent growth in factors affecting electricity charges last year, and an additional 5.5 percent growth occurred in the first half of this year.

This suggests that the hike might be in double digit if all the factors are taken into account, although consultation with the authority in charge of prices could serve as a variable.

Lee also said, “We need to greatly increase the proportion of nuclear power generation as a measure to reduce oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”

In particular, he cited France that gets 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear generators, saying, “(Korea’s) nuclear generation takes up 26 percent of the country’s electricity facilities and 36 percent of power generation. But we need to increase the portions significantly.”

In addition, he spoke on the storage of “spent nuclear fuel,” which is expected to be saturated in a couple of years. The vice minister said, “We’ll link that issue with the increase in nuclear generation portion. Sites for storage facilities should be decided next year,” hinting that the ministry intends to raise the issue for public discussion soon.

Regarding the soaring diesel prices, Lee said, “The reason is because China increased diesel imports while fixing its refinery facilities. But we’re watching the situation, as China’s facility repair is going to be completed this month. It is too soon to reform the tax system (for oil products).”