Nuclear Phase-out Blamed for W1 Trillion KEPCO Loss

  • By Choi Hyun-mook

    August 03, 2018 11:52

    Power monopoly KEPCO has lost some W1 trillion in revenues in the first half of this year on-year (US$1=W1,129).

    Critics blame the government's nuclear phase-out, which prompted a shift from cheap nuclear energy production to LNG and coal-fired plants.

    According to KEPCO data, the state-run utility earned W2 trillion from electricity fees in the first half, W1 trillion less than the same period last year.

    The reason seems to be that KEPCO had to buy more expensive energy from LNG and coal power companies. It bought W480 billion more electricity from coal-fired power plants and W2.56 trillion more from LNG power plants.

    But it produced less electricity from nuclear plants, slashing revenues from W4.54 trillion to W3.53 trillion. The operating rate of nuclear plants dropped from 75.2 to 59.8 percent, even though their unit sales price only rose from W61.2 to W61.9.

    KEPCO made an operating profit of between W4 trillion and W12 trillion every year since 2013. But after the Moon Jae-in administration announced the nuclear phase-out, KEPCO shifted to an operating loss of W129.4 billion in the fourth quarter last year and W127.6 billion in the first quarter this year.

    It has yet to announce its second-quarter earnings, but industry watchers believe losses will reach around W500 billion for the first half.

    Liberty Korea Party lawmaker Jung You-sub, who published the figures, said, "Losses are mounting as a result of halting operations of perfectly safe nuclear power plants in the name of bolstering safety."

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