Seoul takes flak for power outage, slow responseParliament accused the government yesterday of issuing false reports about electricity reserves in the country and causing the recent blackouts that inconvenienced businesses and private citizens across the nation. It also berated authorities for their slow response to contain the fallout.
Korea reported massive blackouts on Thursday as unseasonably high temperatures pushed up demand to what the authorities called “dangerous levels.” It forced them to temporarily cut power in a move that affected an estimated 1.62 million households.
“Fabricating the power reserve level is an illegal practice that the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the Korea Power Exchange (KPX) are widely aware of,” said Rep. Kang Chang-il of the main opposition Democratic Party in the annual parliamentary audit. The KPX is the country’s state-run power distributor.
Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Joong-kyung, who is in charge of the country’s energy affairs, admitted on Sunday that he received a false report about the electricity reserve level as energy officials failed to calculate the exact amount of power production at that time.
He said that the actual reserve rate dropped to a mere 240,000 kilowatts at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Kang said the power production rate was 77.1 million kilowatts (kW) on Thursday, while maximum electricity demand reached as high as 64 million kW, with only 6.71 million kW set aside as emergency reserves, according to the government announcement.
However, the lawmaker claimed that the actual power production dropped to 64.8 million kW, excluding electricity that cannot be supplied due to high fuel costs. The figure left just 800,000 kW in reserve during the time of peak demand, he claimed.
Other lawmakers rebuked the government for its lax reporting system and called for the setting up of a comprehensive emergency management system to cope with such developments in the future.
“It’s a big systematic failure that the government did not know of the false reports on the reserve level until the next day,” said Rep. Park Jin of the ruling Grand National Party.
He also questioned whether the Korea Electric Power Corp., the country’s sole power service provider, and its affiliates can afford to compensate losses caused by the blackout.
“A sudden suspension of power can be compared to a national disaster, such as a typhoon or earthquake. There should be a system mandating that the public be immediately notified,” said Rep. Lee Hak-jae from the GNP.
More in Economy
Stats show a dearth of cheap digs, politician claims
Covid-19 sees marriage, births fall as divorce, death rises
Government property reconstruction project mentioned
Gov't vows to spend extra budget with dispatch
Parties get closer to deal on 4th extra budget