Hokkaido Electric Power’s initial responses to quake to be probed

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry aims to set up an inspection entity to examine whether Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s initial responses to the recent strong earthquake were proper, as blackouts occurred in most parts of Hokkaido after the quake.

The ministry also plans to use the inspection entity, which will include members from outside the electric power company, to examine why the large-scale blackouts occurred.

Power supplies stopped in most parts of Hokkaido in the wake of the quake, which had its epicenter in the southwest of the island.

The Organization for Cross-regional Coordination of Transmission Operators Japan, an authorized corporation that coordinates demand-supply conditions for electricity nationwide, will play the leading role in the inspection.

The inspection entity will examine whether Hokkaido Electric Power had taken measures necessary to prevent such blackouts from occurring. It is likely that the entity will also examine power supply conditions in Hokkaido, in which supplies largely relied on the Tomato-Atsuma thermal power plant.

On Tuesday, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said that the ministry instructed Hokkaido Electric Power and others concerned to quickly find the cause of the blackouts.

Seko also said: “The inspection will be specialized and technical. After sorting objective data, the inspection results will be made in a transparent manner so that third-party persons can also inspect them.”

The government and other authorities have asked companies and residents in Hokkaido to reduce electricity consumption by about 20 percent. According to the ministry, the rate of reduction in Hokkaido as of the 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning stood at 17.4 percent.Speech

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