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Japan officials order electricity cuts

July 3, 2011 at 2:43 AM

TOKYO, July 3 (UPI) -- The Japanese government has directed large-scale electricity users to curb their consumption by 15 percent of what they used last year.

The government order, which went into effect Friday, requires large-lot businesses to cut electricity use from 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

The order directs users that contract for 500 kilowatts or more of power in the Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co. service areas to cut their consumption as a precautionary measure to head off possible power shortages this summer in the wake of the Fukushima No. 1 meltdown triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo, six prefectures in the Kanto region, Yamanashi prefecture and the eastern part of Shizuoka prefecture, which are all in the Tepco service areas, will be effected by the order through Sept. 22. The service areas of Tohoku Electric, which include Niigata prefecture and six prefectures in the Tohoku region will be affected through Sept. 9.

Not since the oil crisis of 1974 has the Japanese government imposed restrictions on electricity usage.

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