East Japan Earthquake    March 11, 2011

Planned outages considered

March 13, 2011, 18:54 JST

Japan's trade and industry minister has proposed planned power outages to deal with severe electricity shortages as major power companies struggle to cope with the aftermath of Friday's massive earthquake. Trade and industry minister Banri Kaieda, at an emergency news conference on Sunday, asked the industrial sector to reduce power consumption as much as possible during operations and for heating. He also requested that Japanese citizens limit their electricity use to only what is necessary. Kaieda said that if serious power shortages seem likely even after such reductions, planned outages may be necessary for the areas serviced by the 2 affected power companies, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Tohoku Electric Power Company. The minister said planned outages would involve suspending the electricity supply for a fixed time to areas in a rotating order, beginning tomorrow. The Director-General of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Tetsuhiro Hosono, said that even with the redeployment of some thermal power plants which are currently out of use, planned outages will be necessary for more than several weeks. He said generator trucks will be dispatched to medical facilities to supply any essential power during the cuts. (NHK)

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