Govt. urges energy saving in anticipation of summer power crunch

Japan's government is urging the public and businesses to save as much electricity as possible in anticipation of a power crunch this summer.

Reserve supply capacity for three power companies that service areas from central to northern Japan is expected to drop to 3.1 percent, if temperatures rise to once-in-a-decade levels in the coming months.

This prompted relevant Cabinet ministers to meet on Tuesday. It was the first meeting in five years.

The ministers decided to urge utilities to restart thermal power plants and to procure more liquefied natural gas and other fuels.

They will also call for the highest quantity of renewable energy sources to be used and the maximum amount of power to be generated at nuclear plants that have been deemed safe.

The government will not set numerical electricity-saving targets for households and businesses, but they will be asked to do whatever they can.

The government plans to put a system in place that will enable it to issue power crunch advisories, if a shortage is expected.

Experts predict that the supply and demand of electricity during this coming winter will be the tightest since the winter of 2012-2013.

The government will consider ordering businesses to limit their use of power and prepare for possible rolling blackouts.