Recently Japanese people are not seriously discussing electricity supply shortage, but the nation's power supply during this summer has been in the worst crisis since the severe earthquake in 2011.
Electricity supply capacity utilization by Tokyo Electric Power Company exceeded 90% seven times by the end of August this year, compared to only once during the summer season in 2012.
Electricity demand in the service area of western Japan's Kansai Electric Power Company exceeded its supply capacity excluding two running nuclear units 15 days during July-August. That was occurred only once during the summer in 2012. KEPCO's electricity supply exceeded the critical level of 95% utilization for the first time in June this year and repeated five times during July-August.
Extremely hot day, that is a day temperature exceeds 35 degrees Celcius, was recorded in Tokyo four times in 2011 and six times in 2012. But there were eleven times by the end of August in 2013, according to the Meteorological Agency. Extremely hot days in Osaka were nearly doubled to 23 times in 2013 from 12 times in 2012.
On the other hand, TEPCO's electricity supply often has been in crisis during autumn when many thermal power plants were shut for maintenance after the peak demand season. The company's capacity utilization once exceeded 95% in November 2012.
One of the KEPCO's two operating nuclear units has stopped since 2nd September for regular maintenance, and another unit is also scheduled to shut on 15th September by same reason. End of the maintenance period at the nuclear units is not decided yet.
Power demand in the KEPCO's service area exceeded its supply capacity excluding nuclear units eight times during last winter. If next winter is very cold, electricity supply could be in anxious.
Capital investment by Japanese companies rose from a year ago in April-June 2013 for the first time since Q3 in 2012, according to the Ministry of Finance. Electricity demand in Japan seems to increase even if many companies are still trying to reduce power consumption.
However, expected consumption tax hike may hamper growth of Japanese economy and eliminate electricity supply anxiety.