TOKYO: Japan’s electricity grid creaked on Thursday (Jun 30) under the strain of Tokyo’s hottest June since records began, but a power crunch that could have deprived tens of millions of electricity was narrowly averted and authorities prepared to lift warnings.
Temperatures of nearly 40 degrees Celsius were marked in some parts of greater Tokyo, home to 37 million people, on the sixth day of a heatwave that began after the earliest end to the capital’s rainy season in decades.
Maximum highs are not forecast to drop to 30 degrees Celsius before Tuesday.
But power outages were averted, despite the loss of output from a 600-megawatt (MW) plant even as generators feeding Tokyo worked up to carry their load with only about 3 per cent reserve capacity, the level below which blackouts can occur.
Authorities said they would lift a warning of short power supplies that had been in effect for four straight days.
“Thanks to everybody’s efforts, we were able to curb demand to a certain extent,” said the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
In the morning, before the 600-MW plant was pulled from service, national grid monitor OCCTO had forecast the Tokyo area’s critical period of 3 per cent margin for 4.30pm to 5pm. The lost plant was not expected to resume generating until the evening.
The industry ministry had issued a power shortage warning for a fourth day in areas around the city, urging households and businesses to save electricity, without stinting on air conditioning where doing so would endanger health.
Some 105 people were taken to hospital with heatstroke on Thursday, the Tokyo Fire Department said. A man in his 50s died and a woman in her 50s was in critical condition.
Temperatures this month have been the highest since record-keeping began in 1875.
The temperature in central Tokyo was 36.4 degrees Celsius at 1pm (0400 GMT) while the town of Hatoyama, north of the capital, sweltered at 39.7 degrees Celsius.
Source: Channel News Asia