It was found that the electricity rate used by the USFK is almost 50% cheaper per kWh (kilowatt hour) than the general rate paid by the public. Last year, the amount of city gas used by one US soldier in Korea was about 10 times more than that of the ROK military. It is pointed out that the USFK is enjoying excessive preferential treatment at a time when the economy of the working class is suffering from two energy price hikes this year.
According to data submitted by Korea Electric Power Corporation to Democratic Party lawmaker Shin Young-dae on the 28th, the unit price of electricity purchased by the USFK in April was 103.6 won per ㎾h. On the other hand, the price for military use was 147.64 won, and for general use it was 152.3 won. In February, the price for general use (168.61 won) was 60 won higher than that for US military use (108.74 won), showing the largest gap in the past year (May of last year to April of last year). The government sets electricity rates for industrial use lower than those for general use in order to enhance industrial competitiveness. However, the electricity bill paid by the USFK for the past year was up to 50 won cheaper per kWh compared to industrial electricity prices.
The reason why the USFK can use cheap electricity like this is because of the ‘power supply contract’ signed between the USFK and KEPCO in 1962. The contract, which has never been amended, states that ‘the minimum rate applied to other customers with similar supply conditions to the USFK must not be exceeded’. It means that you will pay according to the lowest electricity rate for each use. As a result, the USFK initially received the lowest industrial power rate. In 2003, when the controversy over preferential treatment erupted in the National Assembly, the government changed the electricity rate for USFK in December of that year to apply the ‘average unit sales price of customers in the previous year’.
The current USFK electricity rate determination system is as follows. First, KEPCO calculates the average selling price of all electricity users in the previous year. Afterwards , it is finalized through deliberation and resolution by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Korea-US Status of Forces Agreement ( SOFA ) Public Service Subcommittee, and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the SOFA Joint Committee. However, as electricity rates have recently been raised frequently, the gap between the USFK electricity rate based on the previous year and other rates is widening.
Since 2014, KEPCO has asked the USFK to adjust the electricity rate six times. The purpose was to calculate the average unit price by limiting electricity for general use토토사이트, excluding cheap agricultural or late-night electricity. If so, the electricity cost borne by the USFK will rise slightly. However, USFK refuses this on the basis of the provision stipulated in Article 6, Paragraph 2 of SOFA that ‘the use of public services and services must not be less favorable than those granted to any other user’ .
The USFK is not even paying late fees for electricity bills. In 2016, USFK did not pay electricity bills for 7 months. In a normal case, you would have to pay 55 million won in late fees, but it was a small fee. Currently, USFK takes an average of 40 days from billing to payment, which is twice as long as the general public (20 days).
The situation with city gas is similar. According to the Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS), city gas consumption by the USFK in December last year totaled 252,410 GJ (gigajoules). In the same month, the ROK military used 555,844 GJ of gas. Based on the total amount, the ROK military used about twice as much gas, but the story changes when it comes to per capita consumption. This is because there are 30,000 US troops in Korea, but the ROK military has 630,000. In the end, it is calculated that one US soldier in Korea (8.41 GJ) consumed 10 times more gas than one ROK soldier (0.88 GJ). USFK used 400,000 GJ of gas in 2013 alone, and last year it tripled to 1.27 million GJ .
Unlike Korea Gas Corporation, KEPCO refused to disclose the amount of power used by the USFK on the grounds that it could harm national security. However, according to data released in 2015, electricity consumption per USFK was 23,953kWh for a year, which is 10 times higher than the amount used per ROK soldier (2,534kWh). The current situation is presumed to be similar. USFK’s energy use contrasts with the Korean government’s energy diet policy. The government is launching an energy diet campaign against the entire nation, and even uncovering so-called ‘open door cooling’ establishments.
Currently, KEPCO’s deficit and KOGAS’ receivables amount to 45 trillion won and 12 trillion won, respectively. The government raised public utility rates twice this year based on the normalization of public energy companies. Electricity, gas and water rates in May rose 23.2% from a year ago. The price level perceived by the common people is also skyrocketing. In response, some in the energy industry and politicians point out that eliminating the preferential treatment on electricity rates for the USFK will help resolve the trillions of won in KEPCO’s deficit and reduce the burden on the public.
Rep. Shin said, “Unlike our people who are struggling, the USFK has been receiving lower electricity rates than the ROK military for decades. “The government must actively seek ways to reduce the burden on the public before directly passing the burden of rising energy prices on to the public,” he said. do,” he stressed.But the government is expressing disapproval. A high-ranking government official said, “We need to consider not only the deficit of public enterprises, but also various diplomatic factors such as Korea-US relations,” and expressed concern that “it could escalate into a national conflict that goes beyond simple energy issues.” There is also a counterargument that preferential electricity and gas rates are inevitable for the smooth operation of the advanced weapons possessed by the USFK.