Heat wave raises Japanese power use by double digits

Although Japanese government has asked power saving, severe heat wave has boosted domestic electricity consumption sharply in this month.

Electricity supply by eastern Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Company increased 10.5% from a year ago in the first 13 days in July. Supply by western Japan's Kansai Electric Power Company also surged 9.8% on year.

Electricity supply by Japanese ten major power companies was increased in June for the first time since December 2012, by only 0.6% on year. Therefore, the sharp gains in July are quite unusual in this year.

However, because of users' power saving effort, power companies seems to have maintained relatively enough supply capacity against daily maximum electricity demand. Average capacity utilization of TEPCO was 85% during the first 13 days in July, while KEPCO's rate was 88%.

Since electricity supply capacity in Japan is planned to be the maximum between later half of July and mid-September, power companies are likely to avoid blackout barely despite the severe heat wave.

Meanwhile, heat wave is also affecting on Chinese electricity demand. Electricity supply in the Beijing region is expected to be shortage of 3 million kilowatts if users would not reduce power consumption.

Chinese electricity demand had been growing by double digits previously and nationwide power supply shortages were frequently seen during demand season in summer and winter before 2011. But the shortage have not appeared after 2012 in line with slowdown of power demand.

Power shortage might be seen again in this summer, but it is only a capacity shortage against the daily maximum demand. Growth of total electricity demand is unlikely to recover in China.

Chinese thermal power plants mainly use coal as fuel. Domestic coal prices in China were above 750 yuan per tonne in June 2012, but fell to about 630 yuan in July. Prices had moved relatively stable until June this year, then weakened again to below 600 yuan in July. Weaker fuel prices suggest sluggish demand for thermal power.

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