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South Korea to Start Mandatory Power Savings as Shortages Loom

South Korea will make heavy users of electricity cut consumption during peak-demand hours this summer as it seeks to avert its worst-ever power shortages.

Businesses and institutions that consume more than 5,000 kilowatts per hour, a level reached by 2,631 users, must reduce their power use by 3 to 15 percent from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. local time, starting from Aug. 5 through the end of the month, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in an e-mailed statement today. The government will also implement from tomorrow broader measures to encourage citizens to reduce usage, including restrictions on office temperatures.

South Korea, the world’s fourth-biggest nuclear power producer, is struggling to curb power use while the shutdown of two nuclear reactors reduces electricity supply. Companies including Samsung Electronics Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. pledged to adopt power-saving measures to help the country avert shortages, the energy ministry said earlier this month.

South Korea, which depends on nuclear energy for more than 30 percent of its electricity, halted two nuclear reactors May 28 and delayed the start of operations at another after discovering that the facilities were using components whose quality certificates were faked. The country may face “unprecedented” power shortages during the summer, Vice Minister for Energy Han Jin Hyun said May 28.

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