SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s electricity consumption climbed more than 6 percent in January from a year earlier due to a severe cold wave, data showed Thursday.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy used 49.89 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of power in January, up 6.1 percent from a year ago, according to the data from the Korea Power Exchange.

The exchange said the solid increase resulted from the cold wave and more working days in spite of the business slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the average temperature was 3.6 C lower than usual across the nation.

In particular, the wind chill nose-dived below minus 20 C on Jan. 7, sending the maximum power demand soaring to 90.2 million kWh. It was the first time for the winter maximum electricity demand to pass the 90 million kWh mark.

Despite the rise in demand, the value of power sold came to 4.58 trillion won (US$4.14 billion) last month, down 0.7 percent from a year ago, due to a drop in the average system marginal price (SMP) for electricity.

January’s SMP stood at 70.65 won per kWh, down 16.4 percent from a year earlier, as prices of coal and liquefied natural gas fell amid weak crude prices.

This photo, taken Jan. 11, 2021, shows the frozen Han River that cuts through Seoul. (Yonhap)