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Industry News

Korea Electric Power Split-up Monday

LCG, March 30, 2001The government of South Korea said this morning that it will on Monday split the electric generation assets of state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. into six separate companies in a reorganization of the way wholesale power is sold and as a first step toward their eventual privatization.

"We are on track -- we will officially and legally register them as (individual) companies," an energy ministry official said today. "The (new companies) will also be trading electricity on the Korea Power Exchange starting Monday."

There will be five companies for thermal generation and one hydroelectric and nuclear power company. The thermal companies will have among them a total of 40,129 megawatts of capacity. The hydro-nuclear company will have a capacity of 22,251 megawatts.

The energy official said the six companies will be competitors starting Monday. "Wholesale prices will be deregulated then," he said, "but retail prices will be determined by the government for the time being." He added that retail prices will likely be deregulated in 2003, when the government restructures electric distribution operations.

The Korean government plans to begin privatizing the thermal companies early next year. Plans call for the government to allow foreign investors to purchase two of the thermal companies, which would allow outsiders to control up to 30 percent of South Korea's electric generation.

Korea Electric Power's transmission assets will remain under government control, the official said.

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