Toyota is changing working hours, shifts production as mandatory power-saving starts

Article by Christian A., on July 1, 2011

Japan is making power-saving mandatory for all heavy users in order to help avoid blackouts. Toyota Motor Corp. is one of the companies that have decided to change working hours and move some of the production to the weekends to comply with this directive, the first since the 1970s.

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11 had damaged power plants that Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co. operated. Companies that are heavy users such as Sony, Toyota, Panasonic Corp. and Komatsu Ltd. have to reduce electricity consumption by 15%.

Temperatures in the country are expected to increase this week to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (the highest this year) and this would mean that air conditioners would be used more in homes and offices. Power demand is estimated to increase this week to its highest levels since March.

Japan is working hard to control its worst nuclear crisis in 25 years as the disaster had devastated its Fukushima Dai-Ichi station. Tepco is seeking to restore the supply by fixing the gas and oil-fired stations and by expanding hydropower generation.

Yoshinori Mori, a Tepco spokesman, said that if demand is too high, it may implement emergency measures such as scheduled blackouts. Mori said that the company will be issuing a daily power demand forecast for the following day.

The Japanese government will warn of possible power shortages if the demand surpasses 97% of anticipated capacity. In the next morning, Tepco will update the forecast.

If the demand climbs higher than 97% of capacity, the government will announce a second warning that would make the utilities look at scheduling outages. Mori said that the center of Tokyo will not be included in the scheduled blackouts.

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