September 11, 2019 / 1:56 AM / 4 days ago

Japan's Tepco struggles to restore power after typhoon

FILE PHOTO: Cars drive past during a blackout caused by Typhoon Faxai in Kisarazu, Chiba prefecture, Japan September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese utility Tokyo Electric Power said on Wednesday it won’t be able to restore electricity to all the homes lacking power after Typhoon Faxai until Friday or later, with media saying at least two people had died because they had no power.

Typhoon Faxai hit the capital and surrounding regions with destructive winds of up to 216 kph (134 mph) in the early hours of Monday, causing at least one death, damage, transport chaos and power outages.

National broadcaster NHK said two people in the prefecture of Chiba east of Tokyo died from heatstroke - one a woman in her 90s - due to a lack of power for air-conditioning as temperatures rose sharply after the typhoon.

Tokyo Electric, Japan’s biggest power provider, usually referred to as Tepco, said plans to restore power to all homes by Wednesday had been delayed because repairs were taking longer than expected and work had been held up by thunderstorms.

“There is quite a lot more damage than we expected, so it will take until Friday or later to restore power to everyone,” a TEPCO official told a news conference, adding that some 400,000 houses remained without power.

As many as 860,000 households were without power on Monday after the storm swept through, Tepco said earlier.

Temperatures in the wake of the storm have shot up to unseasonable levels, hitting 35C or higher in the region around Tokyo on Tuesday, forcing some people without electricity or water into evacuation centers as authorities warned people to take steps against heatstroke.

“I’ve been getting really worried without any air conditioning,” one woman holding a baby told NHK.

“We haven’t been able to sleep at all due to the heat, and that’s been really awful.”

Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick, Junko Fujita and Elaine Lies; Editing by Michael Perry and Louise Heavens

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