Electricity usage will hit record this summer

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Electricity usage will hit record this summer

Korea’s electricity consumption this summer is expected to exceed all-time highs as temperatures may be hotter than usual and demand is expected to rise after the progressive electricity billing system was changed last year, making power more affordable for many.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy Friday, daily consumption could peak at 86.5 million kilowatts this summer, up 1.5 percent from last summer.

The government said blackouts are unlikely because it can generate 96.6 million kilowatts, which is 4.2 million kilowatts more than last year thanks to new power generators.

The reserve volume will be about 10.1 million kilowatts this summer, or 11.7 percent of supply. The reserve volume is calculated by subtracting energy consumption from the total capacity.

“We expect to maintain reserve rates of 9.2 percent, or reserve volumes of 8.1 million kilowatts, even if the temperature rises 2 degrees Celsius [3.6 degrees Fahrenheit] when compared to the average in the past,” said Yang Kwang-suk, a director at the Trade Ministry.

The Korea Meteorological Administration predicts the temperatures this summer to be like last summer or slightly higher.

It’s considered an emergency when the reserve volume falls below 5 million kilowatts.

Last August, electricity consumption hit an all-time high and the reserves fell as low as 6.38 million kilowatts. The ministry said it doesn’t expect emergencies this year.

The Korea Electric Power Corporation said it inspected 28 power stations and 833 substations last month to get ready for summer.

The Trade Ministry said it will run a campaign to reduce power consumption with local companies and civic groups.

Public institutions are encouraged to keep their indoor temperatures higher than 28 degree Celsius. Additionally, the ministry will ask retailers not to keep their doors open during operating hours.

Meanwhile, the Trade Ministry added that the new progressive electricity billing system that went into effect in December is expected to lower the average household electricity bill by 11.6 percent.

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

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