January 19, 2011 09:56
The government is implementing emergency energy-saving measures as demand for electricity skyrockets amid the record-breaking cold weather.
Following a Cabinet meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday, the 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 Jan. 24 to Feb. 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. On-site inspections will be carried out, with violators to face warnings followed by fines of up to W3 million (US$1=W1,116).
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.
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