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S. Korea's power demand hits new high amid cold wave

All News 13:35 January 21, 2016

SEJONG, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's power demand soared to an all-time high on Thursday as people turned up their heaters amid a severe cold wave, the government said Thursday.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Power Exchange (KPX) said electricity demand rose to 82.97 million kilowatts as of 11 a.m., breaking the previous record of 82.12 million kilowatts set two days earlier.

The spike came as the average temperature for all of South Korea fell below freezing, with Gimhwa in Cheorwon County, 88 kilometers northeast of Seoul, reporting minus 19.6 degrees Celsius in the morning. In Seoul, the mercury hovered around minus 10 degrees.

The country's weather service said a very cold, high pressure system has positioned itself over the Korean Peninsula and is causing the cold wave.

The ministry said that while demand is high, the country currently has the capability to generate 94.79 million kilowatts of power, with the reserve rate standing at an adequate 14.2 percent, or 11.82 million kilowatts.

"Even with one nuclear reactor shut down due to mechanical issues, the country is not facing any shortage," a KPX source said. The Hanul No. 1 reactor was shut down on Tuesday following unexplained warning signals. Authorities are trying to determine what caused the alarms to go off.

He said in case of an emergency, the country can increase output by 4.21 million kilowatts.

The country also has a contingency plan in place that can regulate demand.

The ministry, meanwhile, said it is keeping close tabs on the electricity supply situation so as not to inconvenience the general public and industries.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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