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Japan’s utilities call for power saving on tight supply

Japan’s utilities call for power saving on tight supply

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Japan’s federation of electric power companies (FEPC) has called for cooperation in power saving to tackle a severe power shortage, while member utilities step up efforts to collect thermal fuels such as LNG and oil to boost output.

The FEPC on 10 January asked power consumers to use electricity effectively by continuing to use heating equipment in a cold snap and reducing the use of other electric appliances. The request came on growing concerns over tighter supplies, which have been pressured by extended icy and bad weather, limited solar power output, fuel shortage and risks of unexpected shutdown of aged thermal power units following maximum operations.

The main utilities are operating their available thermal power units at above nameplate capacity and making the most of test generation at new power units under construction, while supplying and procuring electricity through power agency the organisation for cross-regional co-ordination of transmission operators (Occto). The utilities have also sought assistance from independent power producers and in-house power generators to boost power output.

The power producers have been in a hurry to replenish LNG inventories by maximising shipping speed and reducing offshore waiting time before unloading LNG cargoes, the FEPC said. It typically takes a few months before spot LNG cargo purchases arrive.

The firms have also sought crude and fuel oil from domestic terminals. But coaster vessels transporting these fuels to a power plant have been tight as well, a market participant said.

Japanese power use for heating purposes have been rising since late December, with peak electricity demand in seven regions, mainly in western Japan, exceeding levels usually seen once in about 10 years on 8 January, the FEPC said. Power demand in the country’s 10 service areas reached 137GW on 8 January, up from a monthly average of 108GW for January 2020, according to the Occto.

The higher electricity demand has refreshed record highs of the country’s wholesale electricity prices this month. An average of system-wide prices for day-ahead contract prices on the Japan electric power exchange reached the highest ever of ¥154.57/kWh ($1.5/kWh) today, with the prices from 4.30pm-6.30pm hitting ¥222.3/kWh. The market started this year at ¥32.83/kWh on 1 January.

Source : argusmedia
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Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network