Wintertime watt-saving time begins

Kyodo

The winter power-saving period set by the government started Monday in most parts of Japan as the nation continues to grapple with power supply concerns caused by the loss of nearly all nuclear power from the Fukushima disaster.

In anticipation of rising demand for heating, households and businesses in Hokkaido will be asked to reduce power use by at least 7 percent from their fiscal 2010 levels beginning Dec. 10. and until March 8.

In fiscal 2010, winter power consumption surged in Hokkaido amid an unseasonable cold.

No specific power-saving target was set for other regions because major utilities expanded supplies via mutual power sharing as a precaution against demand surges or equipment failures. The power-saving period applies to weekdays through March 29, except for the holiday period from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4. Okinawa is exempt.