SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- The government plans to boost energy vouchers and expand a discount of gas prices for vulnerable people to help them cope with surging costs of heating their homes, a senior presidential official said Thursday.
Choi Sang-mok, senior presidential secretary for economic affairs, told reporters rising energy costs are inevitable but the government will make utmost efforts to minimize the burden of energy bills for the people.
Under the plan, energy vouchers for 1.17 million vulnerable households will temporarily be doubled to 304,000 won (US$246.8) per home this winter, Choi said.
State-run Korea Gas Corp. will also expand a discount of gas prices to as much as 72,000 won from 36,000 won for 1.6 million vulnerable households, Choi said.
"There is an inevitable aspect of realizing energy prices in difficult external conditions," Choi said. "However, the government will make utmost efforts to minimize the burden on the people in this process."
Households are facing higher heating bills because of a global surge in gas and energy prices, with experts warning vulnerable people could be the hardest hit by the cost of surging energy bills.