South Korea to Install Smart Meters in Half Its Houses by 2016

South Korea, which depends on imports for almost all its energy needs, will roll out so-called smart meters to about half its households by 2016 to help reduce the cost of electricity.

The fourth-largest user of energy in Asia is planning a 14- fold increase in the number of meters to 10 million units in five years, the Prime Minister’s Office said in an e-mailed statement today. State-run Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEP) will join other energy suppliers to install the meters, which help consumers monitor their electricity usage more accurately and also feed the information back to utilities to help them decide how to channel supplies.

The government will also set up 150,000 battery chargers for electric vehicles and energy storage units capable of supplying power to 17,000 households a day by 2016, according to the statement.

South Korea is trying to reduce the cost of delivering electricity as power prices increase. The country joins the U.S. and China in developing grids that use digital technology to increase the efficiency and reliability of electricity supply.

South Korea announced a roadmap in November 2009 to develop the grids. The private sector may invest 24.8 trillion won ($22 billion) by 2030 for the grids, with the state contributing 2.7 trillion won, according to government estimates in January 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sangim Han in Seoul at sihan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net

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