No Kanto blackouts Saturday: Tepco

by Kazuaki Nagata

Residents in the Kanto region will not have to deal with a power outage Saturday, but they will have to wait and see whether their good fortune lasts throughout the holiday weekend.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday it will not carry out a scheduled power cut Saturday, but added that its plans for Sunday and Monday, a public holiday, would not be announced until Saturday.

“We have examined the level of supply and demand for Saturday and decided not to implement the planned power outage,” said Tepco’s executive vice president, Takashi Fujimoto, on Friday evening.

The move follows energy-saving efforts by the public and businesses in line with a government request, as well as a significant rise in temperatures forecast in the Kanto region, Fujimoto said.

Tepco estimates that demand Saturday will be about 32 million kw between the peak time of 6 and 7 p.m., within its supply of 34 million kw. Fujimoto also sounded a note of caution, however, saying that if demand exceeds supply, a blackout may still take place Saturday.

Tepco has been implementing rolling blackouts since Monday in eight prefectures around the Kanto region, affecting about 17.3 million households, following last week’s massive earthquake and tsunami that crippled nuclear power plants and caused a severe power supply shortage.

As many in the affected areas have found the blackout warnings confusing, Fujimoto said Tepco will try to give earlier notice for areas in which the company plans to cut off electricity. For areas affected by morning power outages it will try to give notice a day ahead, while for other areas targeted for afternoon electricity cuts it will give two-hour notice.

Tepco also requested that people continue to conserve energy, for example by refraining from using air conditioners and microwaves as much as possible.