Government won't request electricity-saving efforts this summer

April 09, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

For the first time since the Fukushima nuclear disaster started, the government will not ask people to save electricity this summer because utilities are expected to have sufficient supplies, sources said April 8.

Supply is expected to exceed demand by 6.3 percent on a nationwide average, excluding Okinawa Prefecture, even if all idled nuclear reactors remain offline.

Electric power companies have been increasing thermal power generation while energy-saving efforts of residents and companies have spread since the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on April 9 is scheduled to hold a subcommittee meeting to check the supply-demand situation for this summer after electric power companies show their prospects. The government will make a final decision as early as this month on its plan to not request electricity-saving efforts this summer, the sources said.

The Fukushima nuclear accident led to the government’s decision to halt operations at all nuclear reactors in Japan to ensure their safety. For two summers and two winters, the government has urged some regions to conserve electricity.

In summer 2012, the government asked specific regions to save electricity by certain percentages, including 15 percent in Kansai.

In the 2012-13 winter, the government asked users in Hokkaido to save electricity by 7 percent.

Before the disaster, Kansai Electric Power Co. depended on nuclear power generation for much of its electricity supply. The No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the company’s Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture are the only ones in the nation currently in operation.

If Kansai Electric cannot put other nuclear reactors online, its supply of the electricity will still exceed demand from its users by 3.0 percent, the sources said.

For the three utilities in eastern Japan, Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Electric Power Co., their supply is expected to exceed demand by 6.7 percent on average.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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An escalator is stopped to save electricity at Hankyu-Umeda Station in Osaka on July 2, 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

An escalator is stopped to save electricity at Hankyu-Umeda Station in Osaka on July 2, 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • An escalator is stopped to save electricity at Hankyu-Umeda Station in Osaka on July 2, 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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