Monday, 30 July 2012

Electricity & Politics, summer 2012 (3)

Last year to counter the sudden loss of energy generation capacity drastic measures were taken to reduce electricity consumption, The neon of Tokyo was dimmed; the trains operated on reduced schedules; excess aircon was turned off & temperatures raised;  universities shut early for the summer (in some cases without paying the teachers...). Even though in some ways the effort last year was token, efforts to be sparing with electricity were much more conspicuous, and the situation in Fukushima in someway seemed closer to people. For a flashback to last year 
This year public displays of solidarity with energy saving seem less apparent and  I am sceptical about the extent it remains in people's consciousness, though that may change with electricity hikes at the beginning of September. Today Seibu in Ikebukuro, which has two sets of doors to enter to cut the loss of cool air, had both sets wide open - cold air going straight to the street... I closed them ;).  A couple of weeks ago I walked into a classroom where there the power to adjust the thermostat has not yet been appropriated by the administration.  It was set to a frigid 19 degrees - the lowest it would go....   For homework they always do a piece of writing - I asked them to write about electricity savings.  Their answers were intriguing.  Out of 70 students, not one student suggested ceasing to use aircon  period, though some thought they could reduce the use.  Most answers were in the "causing me no inconvenience" category.

Answers included go to public place during the day time that have aircon so you don't have to pay for aircon at home..., turn the temperature of the aircon up (standard govt. line), turning off the TV, unplugging appliances not being used, a few talked of green curtains, a lot talked of developing alternative energy sources - that part was encouraging since that is their academic field.

When you look at today's electricty consumption in the TEPCO distribution area compared with last year's for the same day it's not very encouraging.  Admittedly it was about 5-6 degrees hotter today than this day last year. I am not sure what is accounting for the difference in electricity usage - as far as I know this year heavy industry is not being put on rotation for energy usage.  I haven't seen any analysis to account for the difference.

One crucial aspect to changing electricity consumption is changing people's thinking, for the generation brought up in aircon, this will be no easy task.

Daily usage & predicted usage -

1 comment:

Rurousha said...

Just yesterday, while travelling on the Toei Oedo Line, I caught myself thinking that I almost miss 2011. I should immediately contextualize that - of course I don't wish a repeat of last year - but during setsuden trains had a reasonable temperature. This year, again, they're freezing: so cold that you need a sweater if your journey is longer than 5 minutes. Why so cold? To control odours? To prevent sweating?

Or do I just have a faulty body thermostat?

PS: Yes! I'm a hot jungle babe! :D