The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jun. 14, 2011)
Overcome power shortages with a new perspective
It is feared that power shortages could occur in many parts of the nation this summer.
We hope every company and household will find ways to save electricity and deal with the summer heat.
Starting July 1, the government is set to impose power-use restrictions in areas serviced by Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co.
The scheme will target such facilities as large factories and buildings, all of which will be required to reduce their power consumption by 15 percent from last summer's peak levels.
Similar action will be taken by Kansai Electric Power Co., which will ask private-sector companies and ordinary households to cut their electricity consumption by 15 percent.
This is because the utility remains unsure about when--and if, for that matter--it will be able to restart operations at reactors closed for regular inspections.
Other power companies could follow suit, asking consumers to save electricity.
These moves may well be regarded as inevitable, given the need to prevent a shortage of power this summer.
One challenge facing corporations will be to efficiently use a limited amount of electricity, a task essential to minimize the impact of power-saving efforts on their business operations.
Firms already taking action
It is reassuring to know that some companies have already come out with power-saving measures.
Automobile and electronics manufacturers, for example, have decided to suspend operations at their plants on weekdays instead of weekends.
Power-saving steps adopted by these companies include replacing their lighting with light-emitting diode devices that require less electricity.
They will also lengthen summer vacations and utilize daylight saving time, a measure to move up the time employees start work.
Admittedly, reductions in power consumption will place most of the burden on the corporate sector.
Put another way, however, saving electricity could lead to an increase in companies' operational efficiency. 発想を転換すれば、効率経営を進めるきっかけになりうる。
Changes in the way company employees work could eventually reduce their working hours and improve the efficiency of their employers' business operations.
Power-saving efforts could also provide new business opportunities.
This has been demonstrated by the rapid rise in sales of LED lamps and energy-saving air conditioners in recent weeks, for example.
Also, the food service and hotel industries are offering various new services for employees whose companies will try to reduce power use through such measures as letting them leave work earlier than before.
We hope the economy will be revitalized as a result of new types of consumption that are generated by products and services catering to demand created by power-saving efforts.
Everyone must pitch in
It is disturbing to see that the anticipated power shortages will affect a wide area, meaning households, companies and others in nearly all parts of the nation will have to implement power-saving measures.
For instance, corporations with manufacturing bases in Tokyo and adjacent areas are likely to reconsider their initial plans to shift their production activities to western parts of the country.
These companies should think about what kind of production system would best suit them, keeping in mind the estimate for this summer's power supply and demand.
It is also indispensable for households to cooperate in saving electricity, given that they account for 30 percent of this nation's total power consumption.
Households in the areas serviced by the Tokyo and Tohoku electric power companies should take this to heart. They are not obligated to reduce electric consumption, but we hope these consumers will raise their awareness of the need to cut wasteful power consumption as much as possible.
There are various ways for them to easily save electricity--for example, raising air conditioners' preset temperatures and turning off the master power switches for electrical appliances.
TEPCO is planning to shore up its "denki yoho" system, through which the utility releases such information as the daily balance between power supply and demand, and the forecasted demand.
The system is certain to help companies and households save electricity efficiently.
TEPCO and all other utilities need to keep providing power consumers with detailed information about the status of its electric power supply.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 12, 2011)