The government eased electricity-saving targets imposed on four electric power companies following the decision to restart the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.
Ahead of expected energy shortages this summer, Kansai Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co., Hokuriku Electric Power Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Co. were given strict consumption limits, which they are responsible for enforcing on companies and consumers.
But a meeting of Cabinet ministers with relevant portfolios on June 22 decided the controversial restart of the No. 3 reactor at Oi, which is expected to come online between July 8 and 13, will allow fewer savings.
The government also hopes to restart the No. 4 reactor at Oi later in July, and expects to lower the targets for the four utilities further if that happens. The summer-saving program is scheduled to start on July 2.
Before the June 16 decision to restart the Oi reactors, the plant’s operator, Kansai Electric, was facing a savings target of 15 percent against a baseline of electricity consumption in the hot summer of 2010.
The new target reduces that to 10 percent, assuming that the No. 3 reactor at Oi is restarted as scheduled in early July.
The targets for Chubu and Hokuriku has also been cut from 5 percent to 4 percent, while the target for Chugoku has been also slashed from 5 percent to 3 percent. Chubu, Hokuriku and Chugoku are being required to save electricity because of an anticipated need to send some of their power to Kansai.
In the first few days of July, before the No. 3 reactor comes online, the residents in the service areas of the four companies will be required to meet the initial electricity-saving targets. The restrictions will be loosened when the reactor starts.
The electricity-saving target for Kyushu Electric Power Co. will be maintained at 10 percent, as will the 7 percent targets imposed on Hokkaido Electric Power Co. and Shikoku Electric Power Co.
The government has not set electricity-saving targets for Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co. because they are likely to have surplus power.
According to the government’s calculations, the shortage of electricity supply in Kansai Electric’s service area is likely to reach 14.9 percent of peak demand in August if the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Oi are not online.
That shortfall will be reduced to 9.2 percent if the No. 3 reactor is working.
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