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Power supplies restored to 1.31 million customers in Hokkaido after quake

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Power supplies have been restored to about 1.31 million of 2.95 million customers in Hokkaido by early Friday, following a loss of power across the island a day earlier after an earthquake, Japan's trade ministry said.

[TOKYO] Power supplies have been restored to about 1.31 million of 2.95 million customers in Hokkaido by early Friday, following a loss of power across the island a day earlier after an earthquake, Japan's trade ministry said.

Japan's national grid monitor Organisation for Cross-regional Coordination of Transmission Operators (OCCTO), said it ordered Tohoku Electric and Tokyo Electric Power to supply a total 300 megawatts of power assistance to Hokkaido Electric.

Hokkaido Electric has restarted two coal-fired units at the 250-MW Sunagawa plant, the coal-fired 175-MW Naie No 2 unit and the oil-fired 350-MW Shiriuchi No 1 unit, the trade ministry said in a statement.

Hokkaido Electric has secured 1.54-GW of power supplies, or about 41 per cent of peak power demand on Wednesday before the blackouts, the trade ministry said.

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A powerful earthquake paralysed Hokkaido on Thursday, killing at least seven people, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents.

The death toll from the 6.7-magnitude, pre-dawn quake was likely to rise as rescuers searched houses buried by landslides. About 33 people were missing and 300 were injured, public broadcaster NHK said. Four people were in cardiopulmonary arrest, a term used before death is officially confirmed.

The quake was the latest in a string of natural disasters to batter Japan after typhoons, flooding and a record-breaking heat wave within the past two months.

The island, a tourist destination about the size of Austria known for its mountains, lakes and seafood, lost its power when Hokkaido Electric Power Co shut down of all its fossil fuel-fired power plants after the quake as a precaution. It was the first time since the utility was established in 1951 that had happened.

REUTERS