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Enough power for winter

October 10, 2015

Enough power to go around this winter



By TOSHIO KAWADA/ Staff Writer

The government is confident there is a sufficient electricity supply to heat homes and offices this winter and will not call on households and businesses to conserve energy.

It said forecasts show that there will be enough supply even on the coldest of days when demand will peak.

Forecasts on supply and demand of electricity this winter were compiled by nine electric utility companies and released by the industry ministry's Electricity Supply-Demand Verification Subcommittee on Oct. 9.

The nine companies include all Japanese regional electric utility monopolies, except Okinawa Electric Power Co.

According to the report, all nine firms have secured sufficient power to maintain electricity within a 3-percent margin.

Because of this, the government decided there is no need to set a specific goal on energy conservation by homes and offices.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. said it will be generating more electricity this winter with the restart in August of the No. 1 reactor of its Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture.

It was the first nuclear power plant to come back online after all nuclear power plants were shut down in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture.

The utility had expected to take advantage of a power pool from another utility last winter, but was able to maintain a 3-percent capability margin without having to do so. The figure is estimated to improve to 4.7 percent this winter.

Hokkaido Electric Power Co.'s supply capabilities are also expected to improve this winter and, like the last one, will not be imposing restrictions on electricity consumption to households and businesses.

Whether or not nuclear power plants under Kansai Electric Power Co. will be restarting anytime soon remains unclear, but nevertheless, the utility said it will be able to maintain a 3.3-percent capability margin this winter.

The nine utilities had projected that demand this past summer would total 162.6 million kilowatts. However, actual demand fell short by 8.06 million kilowatts.

This was most likely due to conservation practices becoming more commonplace than the utilities had initially thought, along with a shift toward alternative energy sources, including household power generation and the utilization of surplus power from factories. Low temperatures experienced by western and central Japan also played a role in falling demand for power over the hottest months of the year.



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