(Image from Arirang of ice-cold peach punch served in Seoul to help people beat the summer heat)
South Korea is coming up with innovative ways to deal with the current energy crisis. According to Arirang News, the country is fed up with electric appliances that waste energy while they are shut off.
According to Korea Energy Management Corporation electricity spent as standby power occupies 11 percent of the total consumed in Korean households every year. That comes to W500 billion (US$1=W1,009) and 850,000 kilowatts per year -- enough to power the city of Incheon for a year.
To stop electricity waste from next month, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy plans to enforce the use of a yellow label on products that spend more than 1 watt in standby mode.
On the other hand products that satisfy the government's standard can get a "saves energy" tag, letting customers know they will save energy and money if they buy it. Currently the system is applied only to devices that consume a lot of standby power but it will be extended to all electric products in two years.
The Korean government promotes energy conservation in the face of the surge in oil prices. Earlier in July, over 800 public organizations are required to use an alternating driving day system. The government has enforced a two-day driving system in the past to reduce traffic. Elevators, decorative lighting and temperature control systems will also be limited.
Prime Minister Han said that energy-saving is now a matter of survival rather than choice and that public officials should set an example of conservation with a goal of cutting down energy use by 10 percent. South Korea's government has also said it plans to enforce the second phase of its emergency energy conservation measures earlier than planned. The phase-two measures will now come into effect if the price of Dubai crude oil exceeds US$150 a barrel; the original trigger was $170 a barrel.
President Lee Myung-bak has ordered the Cabinet to actively communicate its plan to the public so that people can be prepared. The second phase will make energy saving measures compulsory rather than voluntary as under the current first phase.
Under phase two, car owners will be forbidden to drive on one designated weekday, and violators will be fined. Businesses that need large amounts of energy, such as golf centers, amusement parks and entertainment establishments, will be forced to reduce their night-time operating hours. Broadcasters will also have to reduce their air time.
Koreans are calling this the Third Oil Crisis, in reference to the problems the country faced in 1973 and 1979.
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp