For the first time since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown, Japan will be going into the winter season with all 50 of its nuclear reactors offline, due to the maintenance and safety checks imposed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. While some parts of the country are safe enough in terms of energy supply to last them throughout the cold season, some places like Hokkaido will be asked to conserve their electricity usage to avoid a power shortage.
The government will be setting a target for the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido to reduce their electricity usage by 6%, the same level as during fiscal year 2010. The power-saving goal will be weekdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. starting December 9 until March 7 of next year. This is the time when usage is expected to peak due to the cold weather. Exemptions will be granted during the year-end and new-year period, as well as some holidays. Lifeline utilities like hospitals and railways are also exempted from the energy conservation target while some industries like farming and tourism will only be required if there will indeed be a power shortage towards the end.
Hokkaido Electric Power Co. which provides the energy for the region will secure 7.2% more power supply capacity that the anticipated demand, which is higher than the minimum required level of 3%. But the power saving target is set in case of any emergency situation that will come up, since there is only a limited amount of power that can be delivered to the region from the main island of Honshu. For the rest of the country, the government will be requesting voluntary power-saving efforts between December 2 and March 31 during weekdays, except for areas serviced by Okinawa Electric Power Co. since they have no nuclear plants.
[ via Global Post ]