Japan in energy-saving period for 1st time in 7 yrs amid heat wave
TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Japanese households and businesses on Friday entered a three-month period to conserve electricity to prevent a power crunch amid a record-breaking heat wave, marking the first time in seven years that the government has made such a request, Kyodo reports.
Unusually hot weather in June has kept power demand extremely high, with supply expected to remain tight throughout the summer due to persistent heat and infrastructure issues.
While a numerical target has not been set for the period through September, the government is calling for people to reduce energy consumption without disrupting daily life and economic activities.
The Japanese archipelago has endured record-high temperatures over the past few days with the mercury reaching 35 C and above in many areas, with the hot weather expected to continue.
Due to the heightened risk of heatstroke, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is calling on people to continue use of air conditioners and instead save electricity via measures such as turning off unnecessary lights.
Energy-saving measures are especially encouraged between 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., when solar power generation declines.
The ministry issued a power usage warning for four consecutive days from Monday in Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s service area as sweltering temperatures in the Japanese capital and surrounding areas were expected to result in pressure on the system.
The warning was lifted for Friday as concern over a power crunch eased, but the risk of an electricity shortage remains due to issues such as aging thermal power plants.
On Thursday, the Nakoso coal- and oil-fired power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, was temporarily halted due to a technical problem, although it partially resumed operation the same day.
Some electricity suppliers will begin a point system in July to reward households that take energy-saving measures. The government has also decided to provide power-saving points in August worth 2,000 yen ($15) to households if they participate.
According to the industry ministry, the risk of procuring fuel for thermal power generation is increasing due to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, with concerns over a power crunch likely to intensify in winter when solar power generation declines.
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami led to the suspension of many of the country's reactors, with the government consistently calling for energy-saving measures to be taken until 2015.
The government stopped making the requests from 2016 after some nuclear plants resumed operation.