The Korea Herald


KEPCO to introduce new bill to control power use in emergencies


Published : Sept. 23, 2011 - 14:09

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SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's state-run power company said Friday it seeks to introduce a new bill to regulate power consumption during emergencies following widespread blackouts that affected homes and businesses across the country last week.

South Korea reported a nationwide power outage on Sept. 15 as unseasonably hot temperatures hiked electricity demand at a time when energy authorities had reduced supply for scheduled maintenance work. The consequent blackouts affected businesses, left people trapped in elevators and caused traffic jams as road signals failed.

In a bid to prevent similar incidents in the future, state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) said it will introduce a new bill to control electricity consumption when demand might outstrip supply.

The utility firm said the new bill will require consumers to set voluntary power reduction targets, which could be enforced during an energy emergency.

Japan imposed a 15-percent reduction target on all corporations and consumers following its March 11 earthquakes and subsequent power shortages, a KEPCO official said.

Japan imposes fines on those not following the regulation, but it was not immediately clear whether the Korean authorities also plan to penalize citizens who fail to stick to voluntary cuts.

KEPCO also plans to broadcast electricity supply and demand conditions to citizens through mobile text messages, smartphone applications and media companies, it said.