South Korea has called for a reduction of power consumption because a recent increase in demand has depleted its power reserves.

The country’s power reserve rate fell to 5.7%, or 4.07 million kilowatts, because its citizens are using more electric heating systems during cold weather.

South Korea has the capacity to generate about 75.91 million kilowatts.

Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-hwan told Yonhap News Agency that if consumers cut back on heating, which accounts for 24% of consumption, significant savings could be made to raise power reserves to safer levels.

The country’s peak power consumption rose to 71.84 million kilowatts at noon on 11 January, further raising concerns of a nationwide brownout.

The ministry plans to connect more power stations to the grid to add at least 3.52 million kilowatts in the hope that it will reduce the risk of shortages.