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  5. Announcement to Consumers Facing Difficulties Paying Electricity or Gas Bills Due to Impacts of Novel Coronavirus Disease

Announcement to Consumers Facing Difficulties Paying Electricity or Gas Bills Due to Impacts of Novel Coronavirus Disease

April 24, 2020

As part of its efforts for encouraging electricity and gas utilities to take flexible measures involving consumers’ payment of electricity or gas bills, e.g., providing a grace period for such payment, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) granted approval for extending the ongoing special treatments involving the wheeling service provisions and other clauses.

In light of the government’s issuance of the Declaration of the State of Emergency involving the novel coronavirus disease on April 7, 2020, METI, on the same date, requested electricity and gas utilities to: take care of the current situations surrounding consumers, regardless of individuals or companies, who are facing difficulties in paying electricity or gas bills for certain reasons as a result of the impacts caused by expansion of the disease; and take flexible measures for them by providing a grace period for the payment of such bills, e.g., a grace period before stopping their services to such consumers due to non-payment of the bills.

Prior to this request, on March 19, 2020, METI, based on the Emergency Measures for Addressing People’s Concerns Over their Daily Lives (released by the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters on April 18, 2020), granted approval for special treatments, targeting consumers, etc. who have loaned emergency small funds, for extending bill payment due dates of consumers stipulated in the wheeling service provisions and other clauses for electricity or gas services for one month. These special treatments came into force on March 25, 2020.

Against this backdrop, METI received requests from electricity utilities* and gas utilities** committed to the special treatment, which took into account the passing of one month since the enforcement of the special treatments, to provide new special treatments stipulating further extension of the bill payment due dates for another one month, i.e., two months in total.

In response, METI examined the requests under the Electricity Business Act and the Gas Business Act and found that it should temporarily take such special treatments bearing in mind impacts on consumers caused by the novel coronavirus disease. Accordingly, on April 24, 2020, METI granted approval for such purpose based on the opinions submitted by the Electricity and Gas Market Surveillance Commission (EGC) as well.

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If you are a consumer who is facing difficulties in paying electricity or gas bills for certain reasons as a result of impacts caused by the disease, contact the electricity or gas retailer with which you have a contract.

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