SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) -- The government announced a set of measures Wednesday to help the country's vulnerable people to cope with a spike in heating and energy bills.
The move came amid a mounting public outcry over higher heating bills caused by a global surge in gas and energy prices.
The measures, among other things, call for doubling the value of energy vouchers for vulnerable people and the amount of heating bill discounts for them.
Nearly 1.7 million underprivileged households and some 400,000 lower-income families will thus receive a state heating bill subsidy of 592,000 won (US$479) for the winter months of December to March.
On Monday, President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered aides to actively consider ways to reduce the burden of heating bills and approved 100 billion won in reserve government funds for emergency use in supporting vulnerable groups with soaring heating bills.
A day later, the ruling People Power Party and the government said they are considering providing heating bill subsidies not only to vulnerable people but also to middle-class households.
According to Statistics Korea, local monthly gas rates skyrocketed 34 percent in December from a year ago due to a rise in gas prices.