• Kyodo

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The government said Wednesday it will relax its mandatory 15 percent power-saving goals this summer for hospitals, trains and other facilities considered key to economic and social activities, in an exception to its measures to deal with anticipated power shortages.

The decision was made as the government is preparing to invoke legal curbs from July 1 on the power consumption of large-lot customers located in the services areas of Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co., whose power output was badly affected by the March 11 disaster.

Large-lot customers with contracts to use more than 500 kw will be in principle required to reduce their power use by 15 percent at peak hours this summer.

The curb will take effect from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays through Sept. 22 in Tepco’s service area and through Sept. 9 in Tohoku Electric’s region.

But the cuts will be relaxed to between zero and 10 percent for certain facilities deemed essential to human safety, including medical and nursing care facilities, as well as those that would have a significant impact on the flow of people and distribution of goods, including trains and refrigerated storage facilities.

Legal curbs on power consumption based on the Electricity Business Law will be invoked for the first time since the 1974 oil crisis. Those who intentionally fail to comply could be fined up to ¥1 million.

Small-lot customers and households are also being urged to voluntarily reduce their power use by 15 percent.

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