Retailers pitch in as power crisis eases

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Retailers pitch in as power crisis eases

In the midst of this summer’s power shortage, department stores, discount stores, franchise stores and other big retail electricity users have come up with a variety of measures to conserve.

The government has limited interior temperatures to no cooler than 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit) for 68,000 locations that use more than 100 kilowatts of power annually and 2,000 that use more than 2,000 tons of oil equivalents.

Along with the government restrictions, department stores are leaving doors open for two hours before and after operating hours to lower indoor temperatures.

Hyundai Department Store has been doing it since last year, and Lotte Department Store leaves its doors open for at least two hours after closing time.

Other than reducing air-conditioner use, department stores and large discount stores are reducing lighting or turning it off completely.

Galleria Department Store went so far as to turn off exterior lighting.

Since July, Galleria has been automatically turning on exterior lights at 7:30 p.m. and turning them off 30 minutes after closing. Yesterday it switched the lights to manual mode to turn them on immediately after sunset and off when closing the stores, reducing use by about an hour a day.

Hyundai Department Store has reduced lighting by 10 percent to 20 percent and Shinsegae Department Store is operating with only half of its lights on.

Lotte Shopping says it has saved about 2 billion won ($1.78 million) since last summer by turning off 30 percent of its lights and 50 percent of lights in staff facilities, including lounges and cafeterias at its stores.

Lotte Department Store is lowering lighting levels at parking lots by as much as 40 percent and has replaced 20,000 incandescent bulbs with LED lights, which are about 70 percent more power efficient.

“About 50 percent of all stores have switched to LED lights. We are planning to gradually change the remaining 20,000 lights to LED,” said a spokesperson for Lotte Department Store.

Its discount arm Lotte Mart also has saved about 1.8 billion won by replacing 40,000 150-watt and 84-watt incandescent lights with 48-watt and 29-watt low heat LED lights.

Starbucks, Caffe Bene, Paris Baguette and other franchise stores are actively participating in energy conservation by installing cutouts or restricting hot water while maintaining indoor temperatures above 26 degrees Celsius.

The government announced yesterday that the most critical period for a power shortage has finally passed.

The government thanked industrial manufacturers, who have helped conserve energy, as well as the general public who withstood government temperature regulations even in the unbearable heat.

“We believe we have passed through the worst as our power reserve as of 3:30 p.m. was 5.48 million kilowatts, or 7.6 percent,” said an official at the Korea Power Exchange.

However, the government asked the public to continue to conserve electricity through mid-September, when it should start to cool down.



BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]


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