Electricity reserve beats the heat, but danger lurks

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Electricity reserve beats the heat, but danger lurks

The electricity reserve remained above the critical level of four million kilowatts yesterday after braving a roller-coaster week when it looked especially precarious as the combination of a prolonged heat wave and the London Olympics took their toll.

Demand for the utility decreased as the Korea Meteorological Administration removed its heat wave alert early morning yesterday and sporadic showers fell throughout the country, leaving the reserve at 6.08 million kilowatts.

Daily demand fell to 70.95 million kilowatts yesterday, around 3.34 million kilowatts below the year’s high of 74.29 million kilowatts posted on Monday.

According to Korea Power Exchange, demand drops by 0.8 to 1.5 million kilowatts when the temperature falls by 1 degree Celsius.

“Demand jumps when the temperature rises, but it does not drop as fast when the mercury falls,” said an employee at the state-run electricity distributor.

He added that the rising humidity triggered by recent rain showers may encourage people to draw more on their air conditioning units, which could also drain the energy grid.

The government is keeping a close eye on the reserve level as it predicted last month the country will see energy consumption hit a new high next week. Industrial demand is also forecast to jump as factories resume full speed when industry workers return from their summer vacations.

Gori No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was idled in March following a malfunction, resumed operations yesterday.
By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]
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