Amid the realization of the 'heating cost crisis' in the aftermath of soaring global energy prices, KOGAS' data has been released, stating that gas rates must be raised up to three times to resolve receivables within this year.

It is said that a rate increase in the second quarter is inevitable to settle accounts receivable, so the worries of ordinary people who are already suffering from soaring heating costs are deepening.

In data submitted to the National Assembly, KOGAS analyzed that it would have to raise gas rates by 39 won per megajoule (MJ) from April in order to fully recover 9 trillion won in receivables for civil city gas raw materials accumulated until the end of last year this year.

Considering that the retail gas rate for housing in Seoul was 19.69 won per MJ as of the last 1st, it means that it should be raised to 58.69 won, which is three times the current rate.

This is an increase equivalent to 7 times the total increase in residential gas rates (5.47 won) last year.

KOGAS is still supplying gas at a lower price than the cost of natural gas, so a rate hike is inevitable to prevent additional receivables from accumulating.

However, considering the price burden, the government plans to establish a step-by-step increase plan through consultation with the government to collect receivables by 2026.

KOGAS believes that receivables can be resolved in 2027 if this year's rate is raised by 8.4 won per MJ, and if it is raised by 10.4 won in 2026.

It is realistically impossible to raise this year's rate by 7 times last year's increase to fully recover receivables, but it means that there is a high possibility of raising the rate by a minimum of 1.5 times and a maximum of 1.9 times.

Accounts receivable from KOGAS has increased significantly since last year when the Russia-Ukraine war broke out.

Receivables, which were 200 billion won at the end of 2020 and 1.8 trillion won at the end of 2021, increased by about 7 trillion won in one year as Russia stopped supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) early last year and the price soared. amount to a circle.

In addition, there are observations that receivables will increase by more than 5 trillion won while freezing gas rates in the first quarter when heating demand is high.

The government and the ruling party have had seven opportunities to adjust rates from March 2021, when LNG prices began to rise, to April last year, when gas rates were raised. .

On the other hand, it is difficult to say that the increase in LNG price has been relatively slow for a long period of time, so it is difficult to say that the factor for the increase has accumulated significantly, and there are strong objections that KOGAS' receivables have also increased rapidly following the surge in LNG prices since April of last year.

(Photo = Yonhap News)