September 18, 2018 / 2:09 AM / 7 months ago

Japan's Hokkaido Electric to restart coal-fired unit amid tight supplies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Hokkaido Electric Power said it would resume operations of the 350-megawatt No.1 unit at its key coal-fired Tomato-Atsuma power plant as early as Tuesday, helping beef up capacity amid tight supplies following a powerful quake that hit the northern Japanese island nearly two weeks ago.

The quake with magnitude 6.7 on Sept. 6 caused blackouts across Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, and the local utility has been scrambling to secure stable power supplies as the peak winter season looms in the next few months.

Power has been restored to virtually all of 2.95 million customers and the government on Friday eased a universal 20 percent power saving target after Hokkaido Electric resumed operations of two pumped hydro units at the Kyogoku plant, totalling 400 megawatts.

Though the restart of Tomato-Atsuma No.1 unit was moved forward from its original schedule for the end of September, the government and Hokkaido Electric are still calling for power saving without specific numerical targets during the weekdays.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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