Tepco and Tohoku Electric Power plan to restart their jointly owned 2-unit coal-fired power plant in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, which has been offline since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. The pan is to boost their combined output capacity by 1.25 GW by the end of the year.

Because efforts to rebuild damaged coal-unloading facilities have been delayed, the two utilities aim to effect the restart by temporarily using fuel oil.

The Soma plant has a 2 GW capacity on coal, but only 1.25 GW using fuel oil. However by summer 2012, the plant should be back to full capacity after switching back to coal.

The two utilities also own a coal fired plant at Nakoso, Fukushima Prefecture, where one 250 MW is slated to resume operations by the end of the year after having also remained idle since March. And a oil-fired unit that has been suspended since before March will most likely start generating power again next summer, adding a further 175 MW.

•Because of the weakened supply capacities of the two utilities, the Japanesegovernment has ordered large-scale customers of Tepco and Tohoku Electric to reduce their maximum power usage 15% this summer compared to that a year earlier. By returning idled generators to service and seeking voluntary reductions in power usage, the two utilities are hoping to avoid implementing mandatory usage cuts this coming winter.