Electricity use rising with high temperatures

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Electricity use rising with high temperatures

Korea’s daily electricity consumption for this summer is expected to reach more than 80 million kilowatts for the first time due to the high temperature and high demands for power.

Consumption will peak during the second and third week of August to hit near 81.7 million kilowatts, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said. The figure is 6.2 percent higher than the 76.9 million kilowatts last summer due to the higher temperatures so far this year.

On Monday, consumption reached 78.2 million kilowatts, already surpassing the highest consumption for the summer of last year. In June, consumption rose 4.2 percent year-on-year and recorded an all-time high for the month of 72.8 million kilowatts in June.

The Korea Meteorological Administration has predicted that the average temperature for this year’s August will also be higher than the previous year as it will rain more. The average temperature for the second week of August was 27.3 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit) and was 26.6 degrees Celsius for the third week of the month in the past 10 years. The agency projects that temperatures will be higher this year.

The government said it will try to prevent power outages and that it can generate 92.1 million kilowatts, which is 2.5 million kilowatts more compared to the previous year, largely thanks to new power generators. The reserve power volume will be about 10.4 million kilowatts this summer, or 12.7 percent of reserve supply. The government conducted inspections at major power plants in Korea from June 21 to July 5.

“Summer is the season when weather is very volatile due to various factors such as abnormal temperature, typhoons and heavy rain,” said Roh Kun-kee, a director at the Trade Ministry. “And we are preparing to deal with any unexpected circumstances.” The ministry said its goal is to keep reserve supply rates over the 10 percent-level.

Additionally, abnormal temperatures have become more common recently, according to the Trade Ministry. In January, the highest daily electricity consumption was 83 million kilowatts, up 3.5 percent from 80.2 million kilowatts the previous winter, due to abnormally low temperatures.

According to data compiled by the Trade Ministry, the day of peak electricity consumption tends to fall on Wednesday and Friday and between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. during the summer.

The Trade Ministry also said it will run a campaign until August 26 to reduce power consumption with local corporates and civic groups. Public institutions are encouraged to keep their indoor temperatures at 28 degree Celsius. Additionally, the Trade Ministry said it will ask retailers not to keep their doors open during operating hours.

BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]
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