Japan green-lights bill to secure electricity supply in times of disaster

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 25, 2020
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TOKYO, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill aimed at making sure there is enough supply of electricity in times of disasters.

In the recent past swathes of the country have been left without power for protracted periods of time as a result of natural disasters including earthquakes and typhoons.

The bill will be submitted to the ongoing parliamentary session and will update the current electricity business law by mandating power companies to devise emergency plans that will allow them to work in twine with other utilities, local governments as well as the Self-Defense Forces (SDF).

The new bill is aimed at providing a more seamless supply of power by integrating resources in times of disaster and expediting post-disaster recovery solutions and operations.

"We are aiming to establish a resilient and sustainable electricity supply system in view of the intensification of disasters that has changed the energy environment," Japan's industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told a press briefing on the matter.

Following a powerful earthquake rocking Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido in 2018, the region was left without power, compounding the deadly disaster. Similarly, Typhoon Faxai in 2019 battered wide swathes of the archipelago, leaving Tokyo's neighboring prefecture of Chiba without electricity for weeks.

With Japan prone to a myriad of natural disasters, widespread and rolling blackouts in the wake of such disasters have severely hampered rescue and restoration efforts and made the lives of those in hard-hit regions, including evacuees, miserable.

In a bid to lessen the burden on people's lives and improve utilities' ability to better respond to emergent situations, the new bill will require power companies to disseminate the information they have on disaster-linked damage and the resources they have available to them, such as power-generating trucks, to other utilities, local governments and the SDF, so coordinated approaches to ensuring stable power supply can be implemented.

Electricity firms, meanwhile, will be requested to pool funds to facilitate the recovery of power companies damaged in prospective disasters, under the new contingency plans.

A bill aimed at encouraging the use of renewable energy sources, meanwhile, was also endorsed by the Cabinet and will see producers of renewable energy better incentivized and power companies ultimately obliged to purchase electricity from such suppliers at market rates, rather than the current fixed prices. Enditem

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