August 14, 2008

Tokyo Electric’s Power Capacity to Be Tested Next Week

Tokyo, Aug. 14 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s electricity supply capacity will be tested as early as next week, when offices and factories resume work after the Bon summer holidays.

The biggest Japanese power supplier, wary of possible supply shortages stemming from the suspension of an earthquake-hit nuclear power plant in northern Japan since July last year, now expects this summer's power demand in its service area, which includes Tokyo, to peak next week.

To avoid the worst-case scenario, Tokyo Electric has restarted operations at all its suspended thermal power plants, while urging businesses and households to conserve electricity.

On Monday, Japan's companies will resume operations, boosting large-lot power demand. If Japanese athletes do well at the Beijing Olympics, viewers will spend more time watching television, also contributing to higher power consumption.

Tokyo Electric estimates this summer's peak power demand reaching 61.1 million kilowatts. The company is capable of generating up to 66.7 million kilowatts of electricity at peak time for Tokyo and surrounding areas.

Still, it is not certain when its flagship Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture will resume operations, causing concern about a possible power supply shortage. Last year, the summer power demand peaked on Aug. 22, one month after the nuclear power plant's suspension.

Marking the high point so far this summer, peak power demand reached 60.89 million kilowatts in the afternoon of Aug. 8, when the daily maximum temperature was over 35 degrees centigrade, according to the company.

A rise of one degree leads to a 1.7-million-kilowatt increase in power demand, and peak demand tends to occur between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m, company officials said.END

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