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Cold wave pushes up power demand to record high

All News 17:45 January 19, 2016

SEJONG, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's power demand soared to an all-time high on Tuesday as the country was hit by a severe cold wave, the government said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said electricity demand hit 82.12 million kilowatts as of 11 a.m., breaking the previous record of 80.15 million kilowatts set on Dec. 17, 2014.

The spike came as the average temperature for all of South Korea fell to minus 10 degree Celsius. In Seoul, the mercury fell below 15 degrees early in the morning.

The country's weather service said a very cold, high pressure front from northern China is exerting influence on the country, with the cold wave expected to remain in place up till early next week.

"This can cause demand for electricity to remain very high, although the country's electricity reserve is adequate at around 13 million kilowatts," the ministry said.

The country has the capacity to generate 95 million kilowatts of power, even with one nuclear reactor going off line earlier in the day.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the alert that caused the reactor in Uljin, 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul to shut down.

The ministry said that it will keep close tabs on the electricity supply situation and is ready to generate more power if the need arises by improving output of local coal-fired thermal power plants.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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