Korea's recent power crisis stems largely from a surge in consumption triggered by a record heat wave, but it can also be blamed on a decades-old rate policy that favors manufacturers and other businesses, market watchers said Thursday.
The Korea Power Exchange, the state-run distributor of electricity, was forced to issue a power shortage warning twice this week as its electricity reserve dropped to below 3 million kilowatts, less than 4 percent of the country's total supply.
The spike in consumption results, of course, directly from high mid-day temperatures that have stayed well above 35 degrees Celsius since late last month, the market watchers said. The capital Seoul is also under a record 13-day streak of tropical nights where overnight temperatures remain above 25 C.
They, however, said a more fundamental cause of the problem is a government policy that sets the price of electricity used by the country's industrial sector significantly lower than the cost to produce, a legacy of the industrial development era in the 1960s.