South Korea consumes more electricity than other developed majors like Japan, United Kingdom, and Germany largely because power is cheaper than those countries, according to state utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO).
According to 2018 KEPCO in Brief released on Sunday, the country`s power use per person reached a new record-high of 10.2 megawatt hours (MWh) last year, up 3.3 percent from a year ago.
Per-head electricity use climbed 4.8 percent on year to 5.2MWh in the residential sector and 1.4 percent to 22.3MWh in the public service sector. The corresponding figure in the industrial sector fell 0.6 percent to 137.2MWh due to an economic slump.
The steep rise in power use in the residential sector last year was attributed to the unseasonably hot and lengthy heat wave last summer, leading to the use of air conditioners for longer periods of time along with the government’s easing of the progressive billing system for households.
Experts also attributed the country’s high per-capita power use to the relatively cheaper electricity rates compared with other developed economies.
When referring Korean rates as 100, the residential charge in Japan doubled at 208 in comparative 2017 billing scale. The rates in the U.K. were at 189 and the U.S. at 118. In industrial sector, Korea (also when referred at 100) charged the cheapest after the United States at 70. The rate was 153 for Japan and the U.K 128.
Distribution of electricity usage per country. [Photo provided by IEA Atlas of Energy]
According to data by the International Energy Agency (IEA), South Korea’s per-capita power use came to 10.6MWh in 2016, higher than 8MWh for Japan, 7.2MWh for France, 7MWh for Germany, 5MWh for the U.K. and 4.3MWh for China. Those with higher per-capita power use than Korea were several North European and Middle East countries, Canada (14.8MWh) and the U.S. (12.8MWh).
By Lim Sung-hyun and Minu Kim
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