Ajinomoto to Supply Power to Tokyo Electric; Kirin May Follow

Ajinomoto Co., the Japanese seasonings maker that first sold monosodium glutamate, will supply power to Tokyo Electric Co., whose nuclear plant was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and its ensuing tsunami.

Ajinomoto’s Kawasaki factory, south of Tokyo, will provide 14,000 kilowatts, half of its gas-generated capacity, to Tepco, as the utility is known, spokeswoman Naoko Obara said today by phone. Tokyo-based Kirin Holdings Co. may also contribute excess electricity generated at its Yokohama plant, spokesman Kan Yamamoto said.

Tepco, which serves the Japanese capital and surrounding areas, is asking companies and households to conserve energy to avoid large-scale blackouts. Japanese automakers will consider taking turns to operate their factories, Toyota Motor Corp. said on March 27.

Ajinomoto “is operating at 24 hours a day to supply products,” Obara said. The Kawasaki site, which has relied on in-house generation since 2007, stopped using air conditioning and elevators to free up electricity, she said.

Tepco was unchanged at 466 yen at the 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after losing 78 percent of its value since March 10. Ajinomoto fell 0.5 percent to 867 yen. Kirin rose 0.6 percent to 1,093 yen.

10 Hoover Dams

Parts of Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures have been experiencing power outages since the earthquake and tsunami, which destroyed 21 million kilowatts of electrical generating capacity, equal to the amount that would be generated by 10 Hoover Dams, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Tepco plans to boost its capacity to 46.5 million kilowatts by the end of July through buying supply from other utilities and opening idled thermal plants. Tepco had a capacity of 37.5 million kilowatts today.

The company expects a shortage of 8.5 million kilowatts this summer as it estimates seasonal demand will peak at about 55 million kilowatts.

The utility began rolling blackouts to avoid bigger power outages after the 9.0-magnitude temblor and tsunami on March 11 crippled its Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant. The facility generated almost a 10th of the energy of the Kanto region, which encompasses Tokyo and contains about one-third of Japan’s 127 million people.