Kyushu utility urges power saving

Kyodo

Kyushu Electric Power Co. on Monday began asking both business and household customers to cut their power usage by more than 5 percent through Feb. 3 to help it cope the shutdown of all six of its nuclear reactors.

The utility suspended the No. 4 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture on Sunday for a regular checkup, making its the sixth to be idled.

The request marks the first time since the 1973 oil crisis that the firm has asked consumers to conserve power with a numerical reduction goal.

Cooperation from households will be key to the success of the power conservation campaign, because their share of overall power consumption rises in winter compared with summer, it said.

Both utility employees and bureaucrats from the Fukuoka Prefectural Government waged a public relations campaign in front of JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka, calling on passers-by to hold down power consumption and handing out leaflets and pocket warmers.

The suspension of all six reactors leaves the utility’s power supply capacity at 14.6 million kw compared with an expected maximum demand of 14.5 million kw, the utility said.

The reserve rate will fall to minus 2.2 percent, with supply falling short of local demand by 340,000 kw if it grows to last year’s level, when the area faced a hard winter, it warned.