May 21, 2013 11:09
Power companies are bracing for surges in electricity consumption as mercury levels rise, enforcing shorter production shifts in factories and securing additional power generators.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday said it expects the reserve power level to drop to around 2 million kW on Thursday and Friday and announced it is entering emergency power supply mode this week.
A reserve power level in the 2 million kW range is classified as a crisis, forcing factories to immediately cut production hours and state agencies to accept blackouts.
If just two 1-million kW nuclear power plants malfunction, Korea would suffer a nationwide blackout. A reserve power level of at least 5 million kW is considered safe.
Electricity consumption is expected to surge this week as temperatures rise to 30 degrees Celsius. “We advised factories to adjust their production schedules in order to conserve around 1 million kW of electricity during peak usage hours, while postponing scheduled maintenance at nuclear power plants,” a ministry official said.
But despite such energy-saving measures, the ministry is still likely to issue a power-shortage warning as early summer heat wave is expected to hit the country this week.
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