Govt Asks Households, Businesses in TEPCO Service Area to Conserve Power

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Electric Power Holdings’ headquarters

To prepare for the possibility of an extreme heat wave this summer, the government began asking households and businesses in Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc’s service area to start saving electricity on Saturday.

With the peak summer season approaching, concerns over power supply capacity in TEPCO’s service area have led to electricity-saving requests for the second consecutive year.

The government is calling for cooperation without setting specific numerical targets.

The requests, which are expected to run through Aug. 31, are only being issued in TEPCO’s service area. Other regions are forecast to have relatively stable power supply-demand situations this summer.

In the event of a “once-in-a-decade extreme heatwave,” the supply capacity reserve in TEPCO’s service area is projected to be 3.1% in July and 4.8% in August, according to the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.

The minimum necessary capacity reserve for stable supply is 3%.

Last summer, the government asked households and businesses nationwide to save electricity.

This year, prolonged repairs at thermal power plants are among the reasons supply is predicted to be limited in TEPCO’s service area.

Malfunctions at thermal power plants and other facilities could result in insufficient power supply and widespread blackouts.

The fact that TEPCO has not been able to restart any of its nuclear power plants since the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima is another factor limiting capacity.

The projected supply capacity reserve in TEPCO’s service area on July 1-7 is 12.3%, even during the most critical period. The benchmark that serves as a tight power supply warning is 5%.

However, an increase in temperature beyond expectations, leading to higher usage of air conditioning and other appliances, could result in a decrease in the supply capacity reserve.

At a press conference on Friday, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said: “We’re calling for various efforts within a reasonable range, such as turning off lights in unused rooms and corridors. Every single effort counts.”