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South Korea will adjust the price tiers for power usage for the months of July and August to help households who have trouble affording high electricity bills caused by the relentless summer heat wave.

“(The government) will temporarily ease the progressive electricity rates and come up with ways to help underprivileged communities remain cool,” Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy Paik Un-gyu said on August 7th.

The Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) has three-stage rates for residential power usage, which creates a large difference in electricity bills for homes using a lot and those that use sparingly. Currently the stages look like this:

<200 kilowatt hours (kWh) = 93.3 won per kWh

201-400 kWh = 187.9 won per kWh

>400 kWh = 280.6 won per kWh

Under the tariff reduction the bottom tier will cap at 300 kWh and the top tier will start at 500 kWh over the two-month period, the ministry said. This means that you can use more electricity at a cheaper rate.

According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, “The average electricity consumption per household was 90 kWh in the last month, but the heat could continue until mid-August, so we increased the progressive section by 100 kWh.” Households already issued bills will have their discounts applied on their next bill. 

Reduction of electricity bills is just one of the measures the Korean government is taking to help residents stay cool in this record breaking summer. The government will also offer discounts for low-income families and residents with children. Find out ways you can beat the heat yourself by reading 8 Ways to Survive Sweltering Seoul this August.

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