The Japanese government has asked residents of Tokyo and its surrounding areas to consume less power on Monday, warning that supply will be limited due to the country’s heatwave. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry anticipates “extreme” electricity demand this afternoon local time.
It advised people to turn off superfluous lights while still using air conditioning to avoid heatstroke. Power outages have been predicted for weeks as temperatures increase.
The temperature in central Tokyo exceeded 35 degrees Celsius over the weekend, while Isesaki, northwest of the capital, reached a record 40.2 degrees Celsius. That was the highest June temperature ever recorded in Japan.
In Japan, June heralds the start of summer, with temperatures normally maintaining below 30 degrees Celsius. The ministry said in a statement on Sunday that excess generating capacity for energy was forecast to fall to 3.7 percent on Monday afternoon in Tokyo and eight surrounding prefectures. It believes that a 3% buffer is required for steady power supply.
The government requested that people switch off superfluous lights for three hours beginning at 15:00 Tokyo time while “properly using air conditioning and hydrated during hot hours.”
Although power companies are attempting to enhance supply, the government stated that the situation is “unpredictable” as temperatures rise.
“If there is an increase in demand and sudden supply troubles, the reserve margin will fall below the minimum required of 3%,” it said.
Japan’s power supply has been constrained since an earthquake in the country’s northeastern area in March prompted some nuclear power units to shut down. In an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, officials have also decommissioned some old fossil fuel plants.
These concerns, combined with an increase in electrical demand, have resulted in a power shortage.
Earlier this month, the Japanese government urged residents and businesses to conserve as much energy as possible over the summer. Meanwhile, the Japanese public broadcaster NHK said that as of Sunday afternoon, 46 people in Tokyo had been admitted to hospitals for suspected heatstroke.
It was also reported that a 94-year-old man in the nearby city of Kawagoe died from the disease.
The announcement comes after Australian officials advised residents in New South Wales, which includes the country’s largest city, Sydney, to turn off their lights in the face of an energy crisis. Late last week, restrictions on the Australian wholesale energy market were relaxed.
(Adapted from Independent.co.uk)