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Lee calls for S. Koreans to join power-saving campaign

All Headlines 07:45 November 28, 2011

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak called on South Koreans Monday to turn off unnecessary lighting, wear warmer underwear and take other voluntary power-saving steps, saying the country could face a shortage of electricity due to soaring demand.

"Up until now, the government has done its best to increase the electricity supply through various efforts, including the construction of power plants. Notwithstanding, it is still an uphill battle to meet the skyrocketing electricity demand," Lee said in his biweekly radio address.

"Notably, the electricity demand in winter over the past several years was higher than in the middle of summer. Given this, it is likely that we might face an emergency because of a shortage of electricity this winter," he said.

A power failure for just several hours could wreak damage of "unimaginable proportions," Lee said, stressing that electricity issues should be "dealt with in the context of crisis management by all citizens in an urgent and serious manner."

"Cooperation of all citizens is essential," he said.

"I, for one, have recently lowered the thermostat in the place I work. Naturally, I had to wear warmer underwear which was uncomfortable initially. But after a while, I got used to it, and now I am very warm and comfortable wearing it," he said.

"We can save energy beyond our expectations if we lower the temperature in houses and offices a little, turn off unnecessary lights during the night and use high-efficiency electric appliances," he said. "I urge businesses, civic organizations and the general public to participate in this campaign voluntarily."

Electricity supply has emerged as a concern in South Korea after unseasonably high temperatures in September caused massive power outages that affected more than 6 million homes across South Korea.

Officials said they had to cut off supplies because electricity reserve levels were too low.

Earlier this month, the government announced a series of power-saving measures, including requiring large businesses and big electricity consumers, mostly manufacturers, to cut their power consumption by 10 percent from a year earlier during the peak days to be announced later.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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