The Tokyo government’s disaster panel said that just one massive earthquake would destroy and heavily damage power, telecommunications, waterworks infrastructure and cut off electricity to half the population that is subscribed to Tokyo Electric Power Co. The Central Disaster Management Council said that tremors cold force thermal power plants to be suspended, cutting off power to around 12.2 million TEPCO customers.
With the projected damage, utility companies in charge of maintaining social infrastructure are now coordinating with local governments to prepare for a large earthquake in the capital. TEPCO’s capacity is expected to fall below its usual, especially during summer when demands increase to over 50 million kw and only 1.2 kw transferable from the eastern to the western part of Japan. Though a plan to increase conversion capacity to 2.1 million kw by the year 2020 has been drawn up, it will only have a limited effect in power shortages in Tokyo.
With reports saying that an earthquake with a magnitude of around 7 could hit Tokyo in the “next 30 years,” gasoline and other petroleum products have already been stocked in anticipation, though demand for such items will definitely increase at such times for transportation and heating purposes. NTT East Corp., Tokyo’s telephone service provider, has already prepared a storage facility for fuel for power generators after the 2011 disaster to guarantee communication lines would work even during power outages after the initial blackout usually caused by the first onslaught of a major disaster, but social networking sites are expected to function normally after the first few days. “There will be no problem with text communications on social networking sites, but we call for user restraint on video viewing because that would flood and disable the lines,” said an official from NTT Docomo Inc.