The Japanese government plans to ask households and businesses to save electricity this winter following a similar request in summer as a national power crunch continues, industry ministry officials said Thursday.
The request to reduce winter power consumption across the country would be the first in seven years. It comes as the supply of liquefied natural gas used to fuel thermal power plants remains strained due to market disruptions stemming from Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said at a meeting of an experts' panel on energy policy that it envisions requesting the public and businesses to conserve energy from December to March next year.
The request will be issued even with the government expecting utilities to maintain a reserve power supply capacity rate of 3 percent, the lowest level deemed necessary to provide a stable supply.
The ministry said if an expected increase in thermal power output is taken into account, reserve supply capacity in January is projected to be 4.1 percent in eastern and northeastern Japan areas serviced by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Tohoku Electric Power Co.
For the rest of the country, the ministry said it expects the reserve rate to be 4.8 percent.
The government issued a power-saving request from July to September this year, the first such request in seven years, as it expected power demand to surge due to very hot weather.