Key Hokkaido Power Plant Unlikely to Fully Recover before Nov.

Economy

Tokyo, Sept. 11 (Jiji Press)--The mainstay thermal power plant in Hokkaido, which was severely damaged by a powerful earthquake last week, cannot return to full operation at least until November, far later than initially expected, industry minister Hiroshige Seko clarified Tuesday.

The tight power supply-demand situation that was caused by Thursday's 6.7-magnitude quake is projected to continue for a long time and affect daily lives and corporate activities in the northernmost Japan prefecture, where temperatures will go down quickly from now on to boost electricity demand for heating.

Hokkaido Electric Power Co. <9509> reported to Seko Monday night its assessment for when it can resume operations at its Tomato-Atsuma thermal power plant, which currently has three generators with the combined output capacity of 1.65 million kilowatts.

The plant is the largest thermal power station in Hokkaido, one of Japan's four major islands. Before the disaster, it supplied some 40 pct of the region's electricity demand, which peaks at some 3.83 million kilowatts.

The company told Seko that the 350,000-kilowatt No. 1 unit is expected to resume producing electricity in late September at the earliest, the 600,000-kilowatt No. 2 unit as early as mid-October and the 700,000-kilowatt No. 4 unit in November or later.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press