A campaign to conserve power across the country began on Monday. The government is requesting all prefectures, except Okinawa, to cut back on power use to avert possible electricity shortages this winter due to all but two nuclear power plants being offline.
Hokkaido is the only prefecture to have a numerical target imposed on it. Hokkaido Electric Co expects to have a small margin of surplus generating capacity that might be overwhelmed if demand for heating spikes during winter, when temperatures plummet. Hokkaido’s sole nuclear plant has been shut indefinitely since earlier this year.
The government is asking companies and households to cut power consumption by 7% on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until March 8. The cuts are voluntary. For other regions, the government has asked for power conservation until March 29.
This is the 4th power-saving request made by the government since the March 11, 2011 disaster. It is predicted that the winter power supply will be higher than that of summer due to the power interchange between utilities. However, the government wants the power saving campaign to continue in the event of unexpected trouble, such as a major glitch in the geothermal power system.