Industries hunt ideas to meet new power-saving goals

JIJI

Many companies are taking the initiative in finding ways to curb power use this summer now that the government has proposed voluntary saving targets for firms and households in many parts of the nation because of the Fukushima crisis.

The toughest target, 15 percent, was set for the Kansai region, which is served by Kansai Electric Power Co.

Major toiletry maker Lion Corp. is considering suspending washing powder production at its factory in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, and increasing production at its factory in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, instead. Chiba is served by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Iwatani Corp. is looking at temporarily halting its Sakai plant for liquefied hydrogen, the largest such facility in the country, while carrying out full production at its other factories.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. customers will be asked to cut electricity use by 10 percent, but many electronics makers and automakers have production bases in the region.

Among them, Toshiba Corp. is jittery about the target because large amounts of electricity are needed for air conditioning clean rooms at its semiconductor plant in Oita Prefecture.

“Production there will be difficult unless nuclear plants restart operations,” Toshiba President Norio Sasaki said.

By contrast, Nippon Paper Group Inc. plans to transfer self-generated power at a plant in Kyushu Electric’s area to four plants in Kepco’s service area using the utilities’ lines because the Kyushu plant is expected to have surplus power.

Elsewhere, Toyota Motor Corp. plans to boost capacity at the power generation facilities at its plants in Aichi Prefecture, which is served by Chubu Electric Power Co.

Imuraya Co., based in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, is looking at suspending frozen dessert production during daily peak hours between noon and 2 p.m.

In the services sector, pachinko parlor operator Maruhan Corp., based in Kyoto, will introduce power-efficient lighting based on light-emitting diodes at parlors in the Kansai region and Kyushu.

According the government, power-saving targets of 5 to 15 percent will be set for areas served by seven of the nine power suppliers that run nuclear plants.

No target will be introduced for Tepco and Tohoku Electric Power Co.

All of 50 of the nation’s usuable commercial nuclear reactors are now offline amid fears about the safety of atomic power.