Japan govt issues power shortage warning for 1st time

TOKYO (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. .

While some thermal power plants remain halted following Wednesday’s powerful earthquake off the Tohoku 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 request covers Tokyo and eight other prefectures. On Tuesday, 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.

Affected by Wednesday’s earthquake, operations are still suspended at six thermal power plants in the service areas of TEPCO and Tohoku Electric Power Co. . On Friday night, TEPCO asked for user cooperation to save power for the first time since January last year.