TEPCO under fire as post-typhoon power outage continues for 5th straight day near Tokyo

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-13 18:39:27|Editor: Wu Qin
Video PlayerClose

TOKYO, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) came under fire from the central government, prefectural officials and local residents Friday due to its slow progress in restoring power to the grid, forcing many in Chiba Prefecture to endure a fifth day without electricity.

TEPCO said that as of 11:00 a.m. local time, around 200,000 households were still without power in the wake of Typhoon Faxai making landfall on Monday, despite the utility having said power would be restored to the affected areas on Wednesday.

Despite TEPCO saying it had deployed 11,000 workers, including those drafted in from other power companies to assist in restoring power, Japan's industry minister Isshu Sugawara said Friday that some affected areas may be without electricity for another week or more.

The Chiba prefectural government, in addition, said that around 27,000 homes were still without water supply. In the town of Tako, 4,000 households without running water are receiving emergency water supplies from the Self-Defense Force.

Following the typhoon battering the Tokyo metropolitan area on Monday, many people are also without mobile phone services, local officials have said.

Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai blasted the utility on Thursday, saying that TEPCO providing an overly optimistic outlook on their ability to restore power had done little to help the residents.

"We want (TEPCO) to have the mind of assuming the worst situation as much as possible and share the information so all of those involved can prepare for it," he said.

TEPCO had said that it had hoped to restore power to areas suffering from blackouts on Wednesday, but its efforts to do so had been hampered by power lines being damaged more than initially expected, with efforts to restore power hindered by fallen trees and poor visibility due to thunder storms and gray skies.

Chiba Gov. Kensaku Morita has also lambasted the utility, as the region grapples with the longest power outage since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, saying that TEPCO should make a better effort to get the job done.

Morita also said that TEPCO needed to step up its efforts to restore power and share a realistic outlook on its progress.

Faxai, the season's 15th typhoon and the ninth to make landfall in Chiba since record keeping began, wreaked havoc on the Tokyo metropolitan area after making landfall east of Tokyo at around 5 a.m. on Monday, killing at least three people and causing major disruption to transportation networks.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday instructed his Cabinet members to make all out efforts to tackle the disaster and ensure essential utilities are restored.