Electricity use expected to hit high this winter

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Electricity use expected to hit high this winter

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Korea’s daily electricity use is expected to exceed all-time highs this winter as temperatures could be colder than usual and demands for electricity rise.

Consumption will peak in mid-January to near 85.4 million kilowatts, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Sunday. That’s 6.3 percent higher than the 80.2 million kilowatts last winter and 2.7 percent higher than the 82.97 million kilowatts this summer. The Trade Ministry said consumption could reach as high as 87 million kilowatts this winter if demand rises significantly due to abnormally cold weather and the revised household electricity billing system that will offer discounts to consumers.

“We believe we can prevent power outages by increasing the number of power generators that will operate during the peak season, but I urge all power plants to be prepared for the unexpectedly high demands,” Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan said Sunday, during a visit to Incheon Thermal Power Site Division operated by Korea Midland Power Corporation.

The government said it will try to prevent power outages and that it can generate 99.4 million kilowatts. The reserve power volume will be about 14 million kilowatts, or 16.4 percent of reserve supply.

The Trade Ministry said it expects household electricity use will increase as the progressive electricity billing system recently went into effect. The National Assembly passed a new system that lowers the average household electricity bill 11.6 percent.

“We are going to run special inspections on apartment units that have relatively old electricity transformers since they might run into a power outage when consumption rises significantly,” said a Trade Ministry official.

According to data compiled by the Trade Ministry, peak electricity consumption tends to fall on Wednesdays and Thursdays and between 9 a.m. and noon during the winter.

The Trade Ministry also said it will run a campaign until the end of February to reduce power use with local corporations and civic groups. Public institutions are encouraged to keep their thermostats at 18 degree Celsius (64.4 degree Fahrenheit) and the private sector is recommended to keep theirs below 20 degree Celsius.


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






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