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Korea unprepared for power outages

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 12:14 -- Laura Varriale
Chae Kyu-mun, Schneider Electric executive Korea

Power supplier Schneider Electric has warned that South Korea lacks of equipment to cope with power cuts.

A nationwide survey on behalf of Schneider Electric has shown that only 40% of over 1,400 asked organisations, including hospitals and data centres, have uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) installed.

"We've seen many power supply issues. Local industries are still passive (in this area). As summer is approaching, risks over possible blackouts are growing", said Chae Kyu-mun, executive at Schneider Electric Korea.

Chae urged the country to reduce power consumption and to deploy automated UPS to counter blackouts as chronic power shortages in the summer increase the demand of back-up power.

According to Schneider Electric, local industries are not implementing energy-saving regulations entirely. Hospitals have started to introduce UPS systems, Chae stated and added: "Especially in hospital and transportation industries, UPS is crucial as even a brief power cut could cause great damage."

In 2011, power cuts across the whole country during an unseasonable heat wave caused a public uproar forcing the head of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Choi Jung-gyeong, to resign.

The total market for UPS in Korea is estimated at $490m, with Schneider holding a 30% share.