• Kyodo

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The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill aimed at securing the supply of electricity in times of disaster.

The move comes in response to massive, prolonged power outages faced by some parts of the nation in the wake of natural disasters in recent years.

The bill to revise the electricity business law, planned to be submitted to the current Diet session, would oblige utilities to come up with contingency plans on working with other electricity firms, local governments and the Self-Defense Forces so that recovery work will progress smoothly.

The government is aiming to set a fall deadline for the formulation of such plans.

Concerns over the supply of electricity have been growing after Hokkaido suffered a region-wide blackout following a 2018 deadly earthquake, and many residents in Chiba Prefecture remained without power for weeks due to damage caused by Typhoon Faxai last year.

“We are aiming to establish a resilient and sustainable electricity supply system in view of the intensification of disasters that have changed the energy environment,” Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told a news conference.

In the envisioned contingency plans, utilities will be requested to share information on disaster damage and the availability of vehicles that can supply power, as well as coordinate recovery work.

Electricity firms will also be asked to pool their funds to help with the recovery of utilities damaged in a disaster.

The Cabinet also endorsed a bill to promote renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, with the government looking to introduce a new system for them in April 2022.

A system called a feed-in premium will be established to enable producers of renewable energy sources to receive premiums on top of the market price of their electricity production.

The current feed-in tariff system, under which power companies are obligated to buy electricity generated from renewable sources at fixed rates, will be scaled down to promote a shift to a more market-oriented approach.

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