Japan Light Bulb Efficiency Push Adds to Declining Power Demand

  • Electricity usage has dropped 8 percent since 2011 in Japan
  • LED bulb makers surge in Japan trading on announcement

Japan’s push to improve the efficiency of light bulbs is putting further pressure on already slumping power demand, as sales decline at Japan’s biggest utilities.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Thursday his intention to promote the use of energy-efficient light bulbs. The government will do that by requiring manufacturers to match the standards of the companies designated as the makers of the most efficient incandescent light bulbs.

An increase in light bulb efficiency could lead to a drop in power generation investments and liquefied natural gas imports, Yoshiaki Shibata, a senior economist at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, said by phone.

Electricity usage has dropped about 8 percent since 2011, according to data compiled by the government. Demand from manufacturers, which makes up 44 percent the nation’s total consumption, fell for the 18th straight month in October, as output from machinery and metals products lagged, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence.

Declining power use, throttled by a stagnant economy that uses less electricity year-after-year, is likely to erode earnings for power companies. Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan’s largest utility, will probably see revenue decline 9.5 percent this fiscal year, according to the average of five estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Makers of more efficient light bulbs surged on the news.

Stanley Electric Co. gained 8.1 percent to 2,636 yen in Tokyo trading, the biggest increase in more than two months. Iwasaki Electric Co. rose 12 percent to 270 yen, the biggest jump since September 2013.

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