Govt. Takes Strong Measures to Prevent Power Blackouts
All public buildings are required to keep indoor temperatures at 28 degrees C or above and commercial buildings at 26 degrees with doors and windows shut when air conditioners are on
Minister Yoon Sang-jick of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announces
a number of emergency measures to save electricity to avoid power blackouts during
the summer due to the suspension of the operation of a number of nuclear power plants in Korea on May 31.
The government has decided to take measures to save energy by regulating power supply throughout the country to avoid blackouts during the peak summer season this year with 10 of 23 nuclear power plants out of operation.
The power reserve is expected to be around minus 2 million kw during the peak power consumption period this summer, putting the entire nation on the edge of a nationwide power failure.
Among the 23 nuclear power plants, Shin Kori Nos. 1 and 2 and Shin Wolsung No. 1 power plants have been out of operation due to various control cables of sub-standard quality that were supplied and used under fake test results and quality certificates, the government said. The shutdown of the nuclear power plants would bring down total power generation capacity in the country to 76.72 million kw, while power demand has risen to 78.7 million kw with projected power reserve down to 1.98 million kw, far below the 4 million kw considered an adequate power reserve level, the government said.
In view of the situation, all public buildings will be required to maintain their indoor temperatures at 28 degrees Celsius or above, with all commercial buildings also required to keep their temperatures at 26 degrees or above, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on May 31.
The government will also slap fines on places of business operating air conditioners with doors and windows open if they violate the regulations two times. The government hopes to increase the power reserve to 4.42 million kw by taking such measures.
The government expects the power supply by the end of next year will improve immensely with five thermal power plants back online and the completion of construction of Shin Wolsung Nos. 2 and 3 and Shin Kori No. 4 nuclear power plants, generating 10 million additional kw of electricity to solve the power shortage in the country, expanding the power reserve to 6 million kw.
But the strong measures to be taken by the government will be costly, raising the cost for power demand control, as the government budget for this only amounts to 250 billion won, almost half the 400 billion won spent last year. The power demand control is the system by which the government pays businesses to avoid using power during the peak time to secure adequate power reserves. The payment to the businesses amounts to 524 won per kw of power they have not used.
The money comes out of the savings from the power charges paid by the people and businesses to the tune of 3.7 percent of the power bills paid.
Minister Yoon Sang-jick of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy at a press briefing on May 31, said an unexpected suspension of a power plant or an accident at a power plant could lead to a nationwide blackout and the reserve power should be maintained at 4 million kw at least to prevent a power outage this summer.
The minister said they felt the peak power charge system designed to charge lower power rates to power consumers that cut power usage during the peak hours of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer will help save energy immensely across the country.
Yoon said he also expects large industrial plants and commercial buildings can save energy by keeping their power consumption to the minimum.
He also warned that there will be people assigned to check if power saving regulations are kept around the country, such as keeping doors and windows closed while using air conditioners.
Photo on courtesy of MOCIE