South Korea's electricity consumption touched a record monthly high in December as the country was gripped by a nationwide cold wave and heavy snow, the power operator said Tuesday.
The country's average maximum power consumption stood at 82,716 megawatts last month, up 5.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the Korea Power Exchange.
It was higher than the previous monthly record of 82,007 MW set in July last year. The December tally also marks the first time that the country's power consumption has gone beyond the 80,000-MW level during winter months.
The average maximum power consumption hovered above 90,000 MW for five days from Dec. 19, with the figure soaring to an all-time high of 94,509 MW on Dec. 23.
The surge came as the country was hit by extremely cold temperatures and heavy snow last month, with windchill temperatures tumbling as low as minus 20 C in some areas.
Soaring power demand sent the country's power reserve ratio tumbling to 11 percent on Dec. 21, the lowest level this winter.
The country should have a reserve ratio of 10 percent or more in order to maintain a stable electricity supply and prepare for emergencies.
South Korea's electricity consumption is forecast to reach a peak in the third week of January.
Officials said the government will make the most of the country's nuclear power stations to meet rising electricity demand for the winter. (Yonhap)