Tokyo utility calls on US military to save energy after quake damages power plants

In Tokyo, lights were dimmed and heating reduced this week following a call from the Japanese government to save energy due to supply problems. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

TOKYO — US military bases in and around the Japanese capital are asking the military to conserve energy amid a recent cold snap and earthquake that damaged power plants.

In Tokyo, lights were dimmed and heating reduced this week following a government call to save energy due to supply problems.

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake on March 16 damaged thermal power plants in northeast Japan in the same region where a massive earthquake and tsunami killed nearly 16,000 people and damaged the nuclear power plant in Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011.

Temperatures dropped to near freezing on Tuesday as snow fell on US bases. Meanwhile, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, warned of power cuts due to surging demand, Kyodo News reported that day.

“Due to recent cold temperatures, reduced solar production and the March 16, 2022 earthquake in Fukushima, electricity supplier TEPCO asked Yokota to try to reduce its electricity consumption for a few days,” the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron said in a message to the installation on Wednesday. managers at the home of US Forces Japan in western Tokyo.

There are no immediate plans to turn off the heating to reduce energy, the post reads.

“We ask that you turn off everything you have available, such as lights, computer screens, televisions, etc.,” the message reads. “If you need to keep things on for your mission, keep them.”

At Camp Zama, the U.S. Army Japan headquarters in neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture, officials posted a similar message on the garrison’s official Facebook page on Wednesday.

“Japanese authorities are asking everyone to turn off unnecessary lights, lower their thermostats and help reduce energy consumption today to avoid a possible power shortage. Let’s lend a hand!” says the message.

A week earlier, Zama posted an article on the Army’s official website that said officials hoped to significantly reduce the garrison’s annual electricity bill by nearly $20.4 million.

“Whether it’s garrison, tenants, or anyone else on the facility, it’s not free,” said Eduardo Zepeda Jr., Camp Zama branch chief public works officer. electricity and air conditioning, in the report. “Someone has to pay for this.”

The garrison aims to reduce energy and water consumption by 2.5% per year, Zepeda said.

“Unfortunately, with [the coronavirus] and everyone pretty much stays inside, instead of going down it has gone up,” he said.

Garrison policy is that during the colder months, the temperature in people’s homes should generally not exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit. During the warmer months, the cooling should not drop below 76 degrees, according to the article.

Use an extra blanket when you sleep to stay warm in the winter or fans to stay cool in the summer, Zepeda said.

Meanwhile, the Air Force is installing new thermostats in Yokota to limit the range of temperatures in base homes, 374th Airlift Wing spokesman 1st Lt. Danny Rangel said in an email March 11. .

“The new thermostats have occupancy sensors, so they’ll go into ‘retro’ mode when you’re away from home for more than 18 hours,” he said.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Marc Billings, 33, of Syracuse, NY, said he will follow official guidelines on saving energy. New thermostats installed in his tower apartment last summer have not affected his comfort, he said on Thursday.

“It really made no difference to me and my wife,” Billings said.

The thermostats, which cost $18.7 million to install, will save about $1.8 million in energy costs annually, Rangel said.

“However, there are no upfront costs to the government as the contractor will be reimbursed through savings over the next 21 years,” he said.

Comments are closed.