Toyota to offer power if blackout hits town

JIJI

Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a deal with Miyagi Prefecture and the village of Ohira to supply electricity generated by its plant there to prefectural offices and hospitals in case of a disaster-induced blackout.

Under the accord sealed Thursday, the electricity will be sent via the power grid of Tohoku Electric Power Co., which serves the northeastern region devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Toyota’s Ohira plant brought a power cogeneration system online in February to test the possibility of supplying electricity to nearby plants and communities.

The automaker is now negotiating with Tohoku Electric on supplying emergency power to households as well.

At a Thursday press conference in Sendai, Toyota Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi said the automaker wants to help create a society resilient to disasters, noting the power and communication disruptions immediately after the disasters hindered rescue and support activities.

Toyota is considering offering similar cooperation to other regions.

The agreement with the prefecture and the village calls on Toyota to offer the Ohira plant as a temporary shelter and a base for relief supplies during disasters and to offer stockpiled supplies to local residents.