South Korea’s civil servants have been ordered to do their public duty by switching off the heating and donning long johns as the severe cold puts a strain on power resources, officials said last Monday.
In an emergency energy savings plan, all ministries and state-run companies have been told to turn off the heating from 11am to noon and 5pm to 6pm, the Ministry of Know-ledge Economy said.
Government buildings have to keep the office temperature below 18°C and state employees are encouraged to wear thermal underwear to battle the cold, it said.
“Offices will be quite cold under the required temperature, so state employees, whether encouraged or not, will end up wearing thermal underwear anyway,” a ministry official told AFP.
Officials will patrol state buildings to check the temperature, he said.
“We’re trying to set an example because the country may face a severe electricity shortage if the current pace (of heating consumption) continues.”
Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-Hwan warned of possible blackouts two weeks ago after electricity demand soared to record highs this winter.
The temperature in Seoul on Jan. 16 fell to a 10-year record low of minus 17.8°C. Large parts of the Han river that bisects the capital are frozen over.
The temperature in the southeastern port of Busan sank to minus 12.8°C on Jan. 16, the lowest level in 96 years, causing the death of a homeless man.
Water supplies in the southeastern city of Gimhae were cut off on the same day after pipes burst.
1. don v.
戴上；穿上 (dai4 shang4; chuan1 shang4)
例: It’s very cold. If you go out you’d better don your hat and coat.
2. blackout n.
停電 (ting2 dian4)
例: I bought some candles just in case there’s another blackout tonight.
3. bisect v.
平分 (ping2 fen1)
例: The teacher drew a vertical line, neatly bisecting the triangle into two equal parts.