Japan Govt Issues Power Shortage Warning for 1st Time

Economy Politics

Tokyo, March 21 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government on Monday issued a power shortage warning for the first time ever in the service areas of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501>.

While some thermal power plants remain halted following Wednesday's powerful earthquake off the Tohoku northeastern Japan region, power demand is expected to increase due to a temperature drop amid worsening weather. As the tight supply-demand balance may trigger large-scale outages, the government and TEPCO called on households and companies to save electricity from Tuesday morning, including by turning off unnecessary lights and turning the heater temperature down to 20 degrees Celsius.

The government's power shortage warning system was introduced following the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami. Such a warning is supposed to be issued when power demand is feared to exceed 97 pct of the supply capacity.

The latest power-saving request covers Tokyo and eight other prefectures. On Tuesday, the use of heaters is likely to increase as temperatures are forecast to go down and the amount of electricity generated through solar panels is projected to decrease due to bad weather, according to the industry ministry and TEPCO.

To avoid power shortages, TEPCO plans to increase the power output at its thermal plants, ask companies with privately owned power generators to activate them and seek electricity supply from other major power firms. But there still is a possibility for power demand to surpass 100 pct of the supply capacity, according to TEPCO.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press