Energy and Climate Policy Institute

작성일 : 12-10-07 01:37
Enerzine No 24. Controversy over the relaxation of the power rates progressive stage system
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1. Issues

    Controversy over the relaxation of the power rates progressive stage system

 Last summer, a heat wave hit Korea, and the number of households with higher power costs increased due to their increased air conditioning usage. In the household sector, Korea uses the six-stage progressive stage system in which the highest energy usage costs up to 11.6 times of the lowest energy usage (most countries use a three-stage progressive stage system). As each household’s power rate greatly increased due to the heat wave, the public is calling for easing of the power stage system. The supporters of the move to ease the progressive stage system have been criticizing the government for its cross-subsidiary system that aids industries by collecting high power rates from the household sector, which destroys social equity because the progressive stage system is not applied to the industrial power rates.

 Those who oppose the easing of the progressive stage system have been insisting that in the lower-income group or among common people, the progressive stage system generates, if anything, low power usage; and thus, if the system is eased, only the higher-income group will enjoy the benefit, and the easing will encourage excessive consumption, which will result in the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

 The government has not yet expressed its position clearly, but since the presidential election will take place in December and it has staked out its stance on reviewing the case, there is a chance that the system will be eased. In this case, electricity usage in Korea, which is the ninth highest in the world, is likely to increase further. Since energy is included in basic human rights, ECPI recommended that instead of ensuring the basic rights of common people by integrating the lower-usage stages in the system, considering their economic burden, to decrease the electricity usage, the graduated rates should be maintained or rather reinforced in the overspending households to simultaneously achieve social equity and sustainability through the media and related discussion forums.
                                                                Written by Jin-woo, Lee (Researcher:

2. Opinion
                                  How Can We Keep Energy Security

 Last August, There was Experts Conference on Regional Energy Security Reshaping Policy Discourse and Options for Progressives in South Korea hosted by Social Democracy in Asia and Friedrich Ebert Shiftung Korea. There was around 20 delegates coming from think tanks, NGOs and political parties in South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia with energy security experts from Germany in the conference
 Mainly presenters focused on nuclear issue because after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster compels policymakers to rethink existing energy policy. And also we discuss about escape from oil cartel and energy transition. In this symposium, experts deeply thought about natural gas as a bridge of energy transition at least 20 years. And some others suggest Asia energy network which make energy share pipe line and use natural gas from Russia for Asia region. But we have to consider one more thing. That is ‘The trap of Red that discarded Green.’ What Kind of energy will be used for the future is very important but we also think how to use it. Jung-Pil, Lee who is my colleague in ECPI mentioned about Venezuela as a case.

 A case in point is the oil socialism of Venezuela, the country that is attempting to become a global energy power with the use of petroleum. The Chavez government sees that making Venezuela play the role of an oil-producing country properly allows the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean Region, and the establishment of the axis of the force that can stand opposite U.S. imperialism. The new application of oil revenues through nationalization sometimes becomes the basis for the investment in large-scale social policies, such as missions that meet the basic needs of the public, including food, health, education, housing, employment, and subjectivity.

 Venezuela’s oil socialism revealed, however, the fundamental qualities of the precedent oil capitalism model. Venezuela’s economic vulnerability based on the oil price fluctuations in the global market will not change in the future. Various programs and projects, which were executed with rich oil money in the past and are still being executed today, are cancelled midstream. Sometimes, they are interlocked with other programs with different objectives, or that contradict their objectives and that are thus completed in disharmonic development. It is difficult to relegate energy security to a single country. Moreover, energy security causes the things that cannot happen to happen, such as the aforementioned wars and conflicts. In that sense, it is necessary to effectively protect global energy security as we keep to the Red philosophy.
                                                            Written by Boyoung, Cho (

3. New Report
                              [Energy & climate policies vision 2030] Report

 ECPI was commissioned by the main opposition party in Korea, the Democratic United Party, to conduct the Energy & Climate Policies Vision 2030 research and to publish its final report. The report explains why Korea needs a different energy/climate change policy paradigm due to nuclear threats, energy demand increases, and intensifying climate changes. Moreover, as the report points out that the policies of Korea’s formal governments were mere environmental management precautions that could not be maintained, it also analyzed that the current Korean government just put the environmental issues into the market to solve. The energy/climate change policies that are based on the market are not the right solution, however, because even if social risks increase, the solution of the problems is uncertain. Thus, to overcome this, ECPI emphasizes the roles of the grassroots and the government. The distinct features of the Korean energy/climate change policies are represented by centralization and nuclear-power-oriented and weak demand management, and such factors are continuing to increase reckless overseas resource development, environmental load, and greenhouse gas emissions, which is resulting in a representative energy consumption society.

 To solve such issues, ECPI suggested that Korea’s energy/climate change policies should include ① Phase out of nuclear and nuclear safety, ② climate protection and energy transition, ③ the realization of solar economy and just transition, ④ global acceptance of responsibilities and East Asian energy cooperation, and ⑤ self-sufficiency of local energy and reinforcement of governance.
  Korea is currently fully preparing for its December election, and the public expects the main opposition party with the major candidate to embrace the energy/climate policies that ECPI analyzed, and to set them forth as its presidential election pledge.
                                                                  Written by Jin-woo, Lee (Researcher:


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