Power Restored on Japan Hokkaido Island

Power Restored on Japan Hokkaido IslandPower Restored on Japan Hokkaido Island

Electricity had been restored to almost all customers in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido by early Saturday, two days after an earthquake caused an island-wide blackout and killed at least 21 people.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called on businesses and Hokkaido’s 5.3 million residents to save power by about 10% from Monday, when usage rises, and said the government would likely resort to rolling blackouts if demand threatened to exceed supply capacity, the Japan Times reported.  

That would be the first use of rolling blackouts in Japan to deal with power shortages since March 2011, when a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Hokkaido Electric said power supplies had been restored island-wide to 2.93 million customers by early Saturday, leaving only 20,000 customers without electricity.

The utility will have supplies of up to 3.6 gigawatts available by the end of Saturday, the trade ministry said, which is still short of pre-quake peak demand of 3.8 GW.

Japanese refiner Idemitsu Kosan Company is preparing to resume lorry product shipments at its 150,000 barrels-per-day Hokkaido refinery, a company official said.

Refining operations have been halted since Thursday.

The impact of Thursday’s 6.7 magnitude quake was set to rumble on with Toyota Motor planning to halt operations at 16 of 18 domestic full-assembly plants due to a parts factory shutdown.


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