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South Koreans are finding ways – like pitching tents in their bedrooms – to cut heating costs amid soaring gas prices.
Recently, a Korean man surnamed Kim in his 20s decided to set up a tent on his bed, in order to cope with the “cutting” cold.
He lives alone in a small apartment with central heating. “At first I wasn’t sure if I should,” I said. “But when I applied this method for a few days, I understood why people mentioned it so much online. It’s more effective than you think. I recommend you give it a try”.
Kim only sets the thermostat to 15 degrees Celsius, the lowest temperature that can be set manually and rarely leaves the tent. The plastic material of the tent is completely non-breathable, which effectively traps air and body heat inside. There are a variety of tents with different prices, ranging as low as around 25,000 won ($20) including shipping.
“In this case, I don’t think higher prices will keep the air warm. Sometimes tents under 30,000 won are enough.”
According to Kim, at first glance, setting up a tent in the bedroom seems like a strange thing. But when he received a gas bill that nearly doubled from a year ago, he had to change his mind.
“Not only me but many people are also shocked when they see the gas bill of December “, Kim said. He heard prices will go up this year because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict – and it’s not likely that it will end anytime soon. But not using heating is also not good, especially was during the recent “devastating” cold snap. “This is the least I can do to help cut costs” Kim said.
Similarly, a woman surnamed Choi bought a tent for her two middle school children to use during the cold season. In her view – as the cost of living skyrockets – there are still things that can’t be cut, as heating and air conditioning is, especially for families with young children. But she still has to find ways to cut costs, after receiving an unexpected increase in her gas bill.
” I am not unprepared for this sudden increase in heating costs. I choose tents that have good reviews on online shopping sites. After using them for myself for a while, I feel like it’s a good way to do it, but I don’t think I have anything to be upset about because of my situation. My children also love it and say it feels like going camping.” Choi said.
She is also looking for other ways to save money, mainly through tips from the online community. “There is information that electricity prices will increase again in the coming months. I need to find ways to save money or else I won’t be able to pay the bills.”
One of them is how to reset the hot water temperature to 40 degrees Celsius, instead of 60 degrees Celsius. According to a post shared on online communities in Korea, boiling water takes a lot of energy and puts Lower temperature will save cost. In addition, using curtains, tapes, films and insulation strips glued on windows is one of the shared ways to prevent cold air from entering.
“My husband’s salary has not moved up much. We have a fixed monthly expense. But the price of everything went up except for my husband’s income. I think a lot of people feel the same way.” Choi said.
South Korea will import 70 trillion won ($56.7 billion) worth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2022. This is the all-time high since 1956, up 84.4% from with the previous year. Gas prices here are up 38.4% between 2021 and 2022. South Korea imports more than 93% of its energy needs.
Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) also recorded an operating loss of 8.8 trillion won last year, up sharply from 1.8 trillion won in 2021. Meanwhile, Electricity Corporation South Korea (KEPCO) is said to have reported a loss of 34 trillion won last year, is expected to report a loss of 18 trillion won this year. South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said last December that energy prices in the country will increase by 1.5 to 1.9 times from 2022 by 2023.
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