S. Korean PM urges energy ministry to reduce power bills amid heatwave

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이총리 "폭염, 특별재난 준해…전기요금 제한적 특별배려 검토"
As tempertures rise, so too is the price of electricity bills as many are turning on their air conditioners to cool down from the intense heat.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon has called on government bodies to explore ways to help people cope with the mounting energy costs.
Cha Sang-mi reports.
The South Korean government is continuing its efforts to respond to the extreme heatwave, which is forecast to continue 'til the end of August.
With the air-conditioning on, the heat's caused electricity bills to soar.
And in Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon called on the energy ministry to find ways to ease people's concerns on that front.

"The longer the heatwave continues, the longer we spend with the air-conditioning on, which leads to worringly high electricity bills. This heatwave qualifies as a natural disaster, so I urge the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to look into ways to show some consideration to the people when it comes to the cost of electricity."

Prime Minister Lee also asked the ministry to make sure to stabilize electricity supplies this week when power demand will most likely surge at the end of vacation season.
Lee said despite multiple measures the government has been taking, the heat has claimed 27 lives, and both farmers and consumers are suffering from the loss of livestock and crops.

"The government is working on changing the law so that the heatwave is regarded as a natural disaster, but we ought to respond to the heatwave even before the law is passed."

He urged people to take extra care of themselves in the heat -- especially senior citizens who don't have air conditioning -- also farmers, fishermen and builders who work outside in the heat.
Local governments, he said, should help.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister himself paid a visit to a family on a livestock farm in Gyeonggi-do Province to console them and to check on the situation on the ground.
Cha Sang-mi, Arirang News.

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