Lights Go Out in Seoul as Energy Rates Increase

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Seoul's entertainment districts went into darkness as lights were turned off early on Tuesday. The lighting restriction is a measure adopted to reduce energy usage, owing to the rise in oil prices.

The bustling entertainment districts of Seoul were pitched into darkness early on Tuesday, as the government clamped down on energy use to cope with rising oil prices.

Outdoor lights of department stores were turned off after business hours, apartment compounds after midnight and entertainment venues after 2 a.m.

President Lee Myung-bak has called for a tighter national energy policy to counter the impact of higher prices, which have been stemming from a wave of unrest across the Arab world and North Africa.

[Kim Min-kyu, Local Resident]:
"I think this lights-out measure is a good policy. The electric power condition is not good nowadays, so many people should join this lights-out campaign for others to stay warm during the late winter time."

[Moon Dong-yong, Local Official]:
"They gave an alarm of energy crisis since the international oil prices rose up over 110 dollars for five days. So outdoor lights of some buildings should be turned off. And our local office is checking the situation, letting them know about the measure, guiding and instructing them to turn off outdoor lights."

About 92,000 establishments nationwide have been targeted by the government lighting restrictions. Those failing to comply could face up fines of up to $2,700.

But not everyone's a fan of the measure.

[Cho Kwon, Entertainment Venue Worker]:
"We have lost many customers after dark - they think our place is closed with outdoor lights being turned off, so they do not enter our place. Well it's hard to make my living. We are really, really in a tight situation."

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