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S. Korea set to jack up natural gas prices in April

All News 08:59 March 31, 2022

SEOUL, March 31 (Yonhap) -- Prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in South Korea will increase nearly 2 percent in April due to rising international energy prices, the industry ministry said Thursday.

LNG rates for households, restaurants, hotels and other commercial users will go up by an average 1.8 percent on April 1, according to the ministry.

With the rate increase, households are expected to pay 860 won (US$0.71) more per month, with the burden for commercial users likely to rise by the same amount.

The rate hike comes as the ministry has recently adjusted its unit fuel cost to reflect rising energy prices. The ministry sets the cost every other month after consulting with related ministries.

This undated file photo shows gas meters at a residential building in Seoul. (Yonhap)

This undated file photo shows gas meters at a residential building in Seoul. (Yonhap)

"With unpaid bills rising, the decision is inevitable as international natural gas prices have been soaring since the second half of last year," the ministry said.

Since a 13.1 percent decrease in July 2020, LNG prices for households and general purpose have been frozen, despite rising international costs.

The freeze is designed to help stabilize consumer prices in Asia's fourth-largest economy. South Korea relies entirely on imports for its LNG needs.

The latest move is expected to raise the burden of public utility rates on local households and commercial users.

On Tuesday, the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) set the adjusted unit fuel cost at zero won per kilowatt-hour for the April-June period of this year, the same as that three months earlier.

In line with the decision, the country's electricity rate will go up 6.9 won per kWh next month, as the government earlier decided to hike the prices linked to climate change and other costs.

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