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Kansai Electric’s Power Supply Tightens as Temperatures Rise

Kansai Electric Power Co.’s power supply is nearing a level that could mandate cuts by users in the heavily industrialized region of western Japan it serves, due to high temperatures.

The utility was operating with a reserve margin -- its cushion for protection from blackouts -- of 5 percent as of 2 p.m., according to its website. Japan’s trade ministry enforces a 3 percent minimum.

Temperatures soared to seasonal highs in parts of the Kansai region, which is home to such companies as Panasonic Corp. and Sharp Corp. The temperature in Kyoto was 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) as of 4 p.m. today, compared with a five-year average of 30 degrees Celsius for the date.

The government doesn’t immediately plan to implement any mandatory cuts or other power-saving measures, Akihiro Matsuta, assistant director of the trade ministry’s electricity infrastructure division, said in an e-mail. Margins throughout the region of west Japan that is able to easily share electricity with Kansai remained safe at 10 percent, he said.

At least 2,000 megawatts of power is off-line in the western region due to outages at two thermal plants, as Japan struggles through its first summer peak season without nuclear energy in more than four decades.

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