[imText1]Unlike other areas, residents living in the Donglim district of North Pyongan province have paid only half as much for their electricity as other regions. While this sounds like a good deal, its really not. On top of the current electricity shortage, power companies have been working in collusion with party officials selling off electricity at higher prices.
Generally, if a household uses 4 light-bulbs, a TV, and a refrigerator, it will pay an average of about 200 won per month, often paid three months at a time for a total of 600 won.
However, due to the electricity shortage that began last August, the Donglim district of North Pyongan province is provided with electricity from only 10:30 pm to 5:30 am, every other day. Complaints from residents have understandably been increasing.
Last year, when the situation was less severe, electricity was provided from 10am to 4pm and again from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm, even though it was limited to agricultural use.
However, as the situation worsened, electricity was provided only to companies that were selling the electricity quietly at high prices. Complaints from residents in the area went unanswered.
At that time, unit residents paid 4,000 won (which consisted of about 50 houses) and were provided with electricity. High-ranking officials of the Party and the National Security Agency were supplied consistently with electricity.
Anyone desiring electricity can pay providers under the table. It costs 200 won per a house, or total 10,000 won, to have electricity supplied from 5:30pm to 10:30 pm for 15 days.
Finally, because the residents are supplied electricity only from 10:30pm to 5:30 am, and every other day, they pay only a half of the electricity charges. Only normal citizens suffer due to the poor electricity supply in North Korea, and collusion between power companies and Party officials.
Recently, there have been instances of people not being able to pay their electricity bills, and being taken away by the National Security Agency.
In the past, North Korea encouraged residents to pay electricity charges through the “life reflection” meetings, and People’s Unit gatherings. Yet recently many residents have complained about the difficulty of day-to-day living, prompting the National Security Agency and threaten them with punishment. Occasionally, residents are punished in order to be made an example of for others.
This situation illustrates the lack of control that the government has over the North Korean people.