Japan begins power saving scheme amid supply concerns

Tokyo, Dec 1 : Japan on Thursday began a power saving scheme in a bid to ensure a stable electricity supply throughout the winter months amid concerns over a possible power crunch. The government is asking people and businesses to make efforts to reduce their power consumption by wearing warmer clothes and turning off lights, among others, through March, reports Xinhua news agency. The government and utilities are offering a point reward program to households who sign up, to incentivise the reduction of electricity use. During the winter period, the government is expected to secure a reserve supply capacity rate of 3 per cent. This is regarded as the lowest level needed to provide a stable supply of power for the winter, with the government wanting to ensure there is enough power supply, even in the event of disruptions at power plants, or natural disasters knocking out power supply. Power supply, however, is expected to reach its tightest in January when reserve supply capacity could reach 4.1 per cent in eastern and northeastern Japan and top 3 per cent in other parts of the country. Along with the power saving period, the government has also said it hopes to expedite moves to bring idled nuclear reactors back online, providing they pass strict safety checks put in place after the destructive 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima prefecture. /IANS


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