TV binges, heated toilets targeted in Tokyo’s energy saving push

May 10, 2022 by Bloomberg
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Japan's capital is joining governments globally in asking citizens to save power by unplugging energy-hungry appliances.

The drive to conserve energy is coming for Tokyo residents' living rooms, bathrooms and kitchens.

With governments globally grappling with surging electricity prices as the war in Ukraine strains fossil fuel supply chains, authorities are examining almost every possibility to reduce power demand. In Tokyo, officials are urging residents to watch an hour less TV a day, switch off the keep-warm mode on rice cookers, and refrain from using heater functions on toilet seats until winter.

The suggested measures also ask households to keep their air-conditioning temperature at around 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

Tokyo’s appeal comes after a power crunch in March that nearly brought blackouts to Japan’s capital and with tight electricity supplies expected through the summer and next winter. The effort underscores a new urgency from governments as they target energy-sucking luxuries inside peoples’ homes as extreme weather from Texas to New Delhi strains power grids. 

Toto toilet seats at the Toto Museum, in Fukuoka.Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

"We need to share this sense of crisis," Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said during a May 6 press conference. "We need the support of Tokyo residents and business owners."

Read more: The Future of Energy Will Require Bigger Sacrifice From Citizens

Japan’s efforts to ensure electricity supply also include more conventional methods. Residents and businesses are being encouraging to install more rooftop solar, while Tokyo’s government is pressing the city’s main electricity provider for the restart of retired and idled power plants .

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has also urged the country to consider using more nuclear power to help limit the nation’s reliance on fuel imports.

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©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

By Shoko Oda

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