Saturday, June 1, 2013

South Korean Updates: Gov't announces 15 pct reduction in power use for all public offices (31 May 2013)

Gov't announces 15 pct reduction in power use for all public offices


May 31, 2013
Yonhap News Agency
nuclear reactors-power shortage 
Gov't announces 15 pct reduction in power use for all public offices
SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) -- The government on Friday announced an at least 15 percent cut in use of electric power by all public offices as the country's power reserves are expected to run out, causing a nationwide blackout, without painstaking measures to reduce consumption.

The move comes shortly after the government was forced to shut down two operational nuclear reactors while also delaying the scheduled operation of two other reactors due to the use of substandard control cables, which were allegedly supplied under fake test results and quality warranties around 2008.

"The peak demand for power is expected to grow 1.43 million kilowatts from a year earlier this summer while the overall supply is expected to drop by 360,000 kilowatts. As a result, an unprecedented situation is expected where demand will surpass supply," Yoon Sang-jick, the minister of trade, industry and energy, said at a press briefing.

With the shutdown of two nuclear reactors, each generating about 1 million kilowatts of electricity, the country's total generation capacity is expected to drop to 76.72 million kilowatts while its peak demand is expected to reach 78.7 million kilowatts, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Under the measures announced Friday, all public offices will be required to reduce their use of electric power during peak hours by at least 20 percent. They will also be required to turn off all their electric heaters or air conditioning equipment when the power reserve level drops to below 3 million kilowatts. A power shortage warning is issued when the reserve dips to less than 4 million kilowatts, which is considered a safe level.

Along with efforts by the public sector, the government is also encouraging similar efforts by the private sector.

Previously, the government had offered a special electricity rate to any company that consumes less than 3,000 kilowatts per month and reduces their use of power during daily peak hours.

Starting this month, the special rate will be offered to any company that consumes less than 5,000 kilowatts per month and agrees to reduce their power consumption during peak hours.

All companies or other entities, such as buildings, that consume more than 5,000 kilowatts of electricity will be required to reduce their consumption by 3-15 percent, according to the ministry.

Households will also be offered a special deduction from their electricity bills if they cut their monthly consumption by a set amount during the summer season in July and August, it added.

The minister noted even such measures might not be enough to completely rule out the possibility of a blackout, but said the government was doing its utmost to prevent the worst.

"The government sincerely apologizes for great inconveniences this will cause for many businesses and people," he said.

"But as our people have shown their strength in every crisis the country has faced, we are asking them to once again have faith in the government and lend their support."



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