Gov’t urges KEPCO service area to cut power use by 10%


The city of Osaka

TOKYO (majirox news) — The government is poised to ask businesses and homes in the area serviced by the Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) to cut year-on-year electricity consumption by at least 10%, it was learned July 19.

The government will make the request as early as July 20 as seven of the 11 nuclear reactors in the region will be stopped in July for reasons such as regular inspections.

Other parts of western Japan outside of the KEPCO service area will not be able to supply it with power needed over the peak summer period so the government has asked consumers to cut back to avoid a shortfall in power supply.

The request made to electricity users in the KEPCO service area will not be binding and any reduction in power will be voluntary, unlike in eastern Japan, where consumers must cut their power consumption by 15%, with large-scale electricity users liable for fines of up to 1 million yen for failing to reduce their energy use.

The government will promote the power reductions through a campaign similar to the one it launched in May for the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) service area. If power use seems likely to result in shortages, the government will issue a power supply warning through the media.

Japan’s power supply has been thrown into disarray by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which is leaking radiation after being damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku Region. Subsequently, nuclear reactors across the country have been halted for stress tests and safety inspections, drastically cutting power supply. Western and eastern Japan are on different power grids, but the shortfall cannot be made up between the two as converters are unable to handle transfers of large amounts of electricity.

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