The presidential office has unveiled plans to provide greater energy vouchers and discounts on gas bills for vulnerable groups to ease the burden imposed by surging heating costs.
Senior Presidential Secretary for Economic Affairs, Choi Sang-mok, said on Thursday that although raising energy prices is inevitable due to difficult conditions abroad, the government will exert its best policy efforts to minimize the burden on the public.
He said for households in absolute poverty and living on welfare, the government will temporarily double the energy voucher amount, from 152-thousand won to 304-thousand won. Such vouchers aim to support low-income families in paying their electricity, gas, heating and liquified natural gas bills.
Choi added that the government will double the discount cap on gas bills by up to 72-thousand won for one-point-six million vulnerable households, including those with disabilities.
Choi said heating prices were hiked sharply recently as international natural gas prices skyrocketed by up to ten-fold since the second half of 2021. However, he added that South Korea’s gas prices remain relatively low compared to other countries.