Surprisingly Low Peak Demand
In Japan an unprecedented heat wave gripped the entire country this summer. On July 20th Tokyo recorded 39.5 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature since observations began. Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) peak power demand for the summer was 61.5 GW. It was, however, not the highest ever. It was only seventh, lower by 2.8 GW than the 64.3 GW recorded on 24 July 2001. TEPCO had estimated that peak demand during an extreme heat wave would be 64.5 GW. In fact, even though the temperature exceeded the estimate, electricity demand was far below what had been predicted.
In terms of the total national demand of the ten power companies, 20 July came in top at 174.3 GW, but this figure was still 8.1 GW lower than the 182.4 GW of three years earlier. So in spite of the heat spell and the economic recovery, peak demand did not increase. There were only three days, including 20 July, during this summer period when TEPCO's peak demand exceeded 60 GW per day.
Surprised at this strange state of affairs, TEPCO is said to be analyzing the reasons. Conceivable factors include: a 1.2 GW reduction in demand as a result of progress in deregulation of the electric power industry; lower than usual humidity during these hot spells; the spread of energy-saving appliances; and a greater awareness of energy-saving.
Peak demand has been brought under control. That is to be welcomed. However, there is a trend for power consumption at night and on holidays to not been as low as in the past. In terms of peak demand, TEPCO was unable to set a new record, but it sold 26.3 TWh of electric power in July, the highest ever for the month of July. Hokkaido Electric Power Co. saw the extraordinary situation where the highest power consumption in a single day during the summer season was not on a weekday, but on a Saturday (24 July).
This may be good news for the power companies, but from an energy-saving viewpoint, new measures are required.