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Electricity demand hits wintertime high during cold wave

All News 20:43 January 07, 2021

SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's electricity demand set a new wintertime high Thursday as the country was gripped by the coldest weather so far this season, the energy ministry said.

Peak power demand reached 90.2 million kilowatts as of 5 p.m. as lower-than-normal temperatures lead to increased electricity use for heating, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Electricity reserves remained at a stable 8.78 million kilowatts, the ministry said.

It is the first time that the peak electricity load has exceeded 90 million kilowatts in winter.

The ministry said peak demand is expected to reach 91.5 million kilowatts on Friday morning as the mercury is forecast to fall further.

"The government will be fully prepared to cope with a spike in electricity demand on Friday by operating more power generating plants, which have been in test operation," a ministry official said.

This photo taken on Jan. 7, 2020, shows public officials shoveling snow on a street in Gwangju, 330 kilometers southwest of Seoul, with a cold wave warning issued in many parts of the country. (Yonhap)

At 7 a.m. Thursday, the temperature in Seoul dropped to minus 16.1 C, with a wind chill of minus 25.3 C, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

The weather agency forecast the cold spell to continue through Saturday.

Snowfall was heaviest in the southern Seocho Ward, which received 13.7 centimeters of snow between Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning.

Other parts of the nation also saw temperatures plunge and snow pile up, with Mount Seorak in the country's northeast recording minus 29.4 C and many regions receiving 10-20 cm of snow.

A cold wave warning went into effect in Seoul on Wednesday night for the first time since Jan. 23, 2018.

The warning was issued for many areas in Gyeonggi, Gangwon, Chungcheong and North Gyeongsang provinces at 9 p.m. Tuesday, followed by other areas Wednesday, including Incheon, west of Seoul.

The warning is issued when the morning low is below minus 15 C for more than two consecutive days, or when the temperature drops sharply and major damage is expected.

Cars move slowly on a snow-covered road in Suwon, just south of Seoul, on Jan. 7, 2021. (Yonhap)


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