REFILE-S.Korea to hike electricity prices, cut tax on gas, kerosene use

Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:57am EST

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SEOUL Nov 19 (Reuters) - South Korea said on Tuesday it will hike electricity tariffs and lower consumption taxes on liquefied natural gas, propane and kerosene as part of its latest efforts to avert blackouts.

The energy and finance ministries, in a joint statement, said government-controlled Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) will raise electricity prices by an average 5.4 percent starting on Thursday, with industrial users facing the biggest hike.

The ministries also said they will submit legislation to parliament seeking to impose a new consumption tax on coal imports for power stations starting next year. That could indirectly push up costs of electricity and encourage consumers to find alternative sources of energy.

The lower taxes on LNG, propane and kerosene are scheduled to take effect in 2014.

The government hopes higher electricity prices will push households and industrial consumers to use other energy sources for daily needs, such as heating or running generators.

(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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