Emergency Energy Saving Measures for South Korea

THE KOREAN government is implementing emergency energy-saving measures as demand for electricity skyrockets amid record-breaking cold weather.

Following a Cabinet meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday, the Korean government announced a series of measures which include limiting the interior temperature of energy-hungry big buildings and operating fewer subway trains.

With the cold snap gripping the nation, even in the traditionally warmer southern regions, power consumption has shot up nationwide, setting new records three times so far this month. The soaring consumption is pushing the nation's generating capacity to its limits, fueling concerns of a power shortage.

From January 24 to February 18, the government will designate 441 buildings with high energy consumption of 2,000 tons of oil equivalent (TOE) or more, and limit these buildings to interior temperatures of no more than 20 degrees.

These include 174 department stores or large discount stores, 113 corporate buildings and 68 educational facilities. Onsite inspections will be carried out, with violators to face warnings followed by fines of up to W3 million (US$2,700).

Intervals between subway trains in the Seoul metropolitan area will increase by one to three minutes between 10 a.m. and noon, the peak hours for electricity demand.

In order to discourage the use of electronic goods for heating, the government will launch a campaign to raise awareness of the high electricity costs of using such devices.

During the cabinet meeting, Korean President Lee Myung-bak called on his government to continuously examine energy-related policies to see if they are being well-executed while stressing the importance of saving energy in preparation for a surge in electrical power demand due to the ongoing cold spell and soaring oil prices.

The Korean government also speculates that this year's energy consumption will rise more than five percent compared to 2010 plans to keep the level at around two percent.

Picture by Wootang01

Wednesday 19th January 2011

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