KEPCO’s deficit of 33 trillion, Gas Corporation’s receivables of 9 trillion… Growing pressure on rate hikes :: Gyeongnam Newspaper

As of the end of last year, KEPCO’s operating loss was about 33 trillion won and Korea Gas Corporation’s accounts receivable reached almost 9 trillion won, further increasing pressure on electricity and gas fees, which are representative energy public charges.

KEPCO announced on the 24th that its cumulative operating loss last year was 32.6 trillion won.

This is a level of 5.6 times that of 2021 (5.8465 trillion won), which was the previous maximum yearly operating loss.

(Seoul = Yonhap News) Reporter Seo Dae-yeon = KEPCO posted an operating loss of 33 trillion won last year, recording the worst business performance ever. 2023.2.24

Even on a quarterly basis, the operating loss in the fourth quarter of last year reached 10.767 trillion won, far exceeding the previous record high of 7.7869 trillion won in the first quarter of last year.

As KEPCO’s yearly and quarterly operating losses are all at their worst ever, the pressure to raise rates is mounting.

KEPCO raised electricity rates three times last year (April, July, and October), but failed to reduce the deficit as operating expenses (103.7753 trillion won) exceeded 100 trillion won for the first time in history due to soaring fuel prices.

KEPCO is struggling to make up for its operating loss by raising rates by 13.1 won per kWh (kilowatt hour) in the first quarter of this year, the largest ever.

This is one-fourth of the appropriate amount (51.6 won) for this year’s annual electricity rate hike submitted to the National Assembly last year by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy with the goal of solving KEPCO’s cumulative deficit by 2026. am.

In addition, on the same day, KOGAS announced last year’s performance and announced that receivables for civil (residential and commercial) gas rates reached 8.6 trillion won.

At the end of last year, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy submitted to the National Assembly a plan to increase gas rates by 10.4 won per megajoule (2.6 won each for four quarters) this year in order to normalize the company’s management by 2026.

This is 1.9 times the amount raised (5.47 won) four times last year (April, May, July, and October).

However, gas rates were completely frozen in the first quarter of this year, unlike electricity rates. This is because the winter season, when energy demand is relatively high, and the fact that a sudden rise in energy rates could increase the burden on the people was taken into consideration.

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The problem is that as the ‘heating cost bomb’ issue emerged as a national issue this winter, public opinion was created that made it impossible to be sure of even a rate hike in the second quarter.

As President Yoon Seok-yeol recently mentioned at the emergency economic and public welfare meeting that he would adjust the width and speed of the increase in order to minimize the burden on the common people on sharply skyrocketing public charges, attention is focused on how representative electricity and gas charges will be adjusted in the second quarter.

Experts are concerned that delaying the realization of energy rates will increase the side effects.

Voices say that if public institutions continue to issue corporate bonds or borrow money from banks to cover their deficits, the financial market will be distorted, and in an environment where energy conservation is essential amidst the global energy crisis, a rate freeze can give the wrong signal to consumers’ usage behavior. There is also

There are also observations that in the second half of this year ahead of the National Assembly elections in April next year, an atmosphere will be created in which it will be more difficult for the government to actively raise energy rates.

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