Japan’s power demand rose 2.7 percent in April from a year earlier, a Reuters calculation based on grid industry data showed o n W ednesday, due in part to heating demand as the country’s northern region faced colder-than-normal temperatures for the fifth month in a row.
That marked the third straight month of year-on-year rises. The nation’s power demand rose for the first time in February since a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 disrupted supply chains and took a hit on the economy.
The economy is on the mend, but power demand has been limited by conservation in the face of a gradual fall in nuclear power generating capacity after the tsunami-triggered Fukushima crisis heightened nuclear safety concerns, with the chance of no nuclear power in more than 40 years looming in coming days.
The country’s last operating reactor shuts for regular maintenance on Saturday and there is no fixed schedule yet for getting approval by local communities to restart the first two reactors in western Japan.
Electricity demand and supply forecasts by regional utilities for the summer are under scrutiny as Japan’s government is finalising its plans to avoid power shortages during the peak demand season.
More closely watched preliminary data for power generation and fuel usage in April by regional power utilities will be released on May 16 by the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan.
Its data last month showed nationwide power generation rose 1.3 percent in March from a year earlier but fell 5.1 percent in the year that ended in March 2012.
The federation’s data is usually in line with Reuters calculations, which are based on daily data by Japan’s sole grid network council covering nine core regions in the four main islands.