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22 Chiba Pref. municipalities could be stuck without power until Sept. 27: TEPCO

In this Sept. 12, 2019 file photo, a married couple use torches to light their room during an ongoing blackout following Typhoon Faxai, in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture. (Mainichi/Kaho Kitayama)

CHIBA -- The number of municipalities in typhoon-stricken Chiba Prefecture that may not have power restored until Sept. 27 has ballooned from four to 22, an electricity restoration schedule released by TEPCO Power Grid Inc. late on Sept. 14 shows.

Typhoon Faxai, the 15th of the year, caused widespread blackouts in this prefecture east of Tokyo when it struck on Sept. 8 and 9, and some 108,700 households remained without power as of 10 p.m. on Sept. 15.

TEPCO Power Grid, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. subsidiary responsible for electricity distribution, plans to restore power in three phases, with some areas getting the lights back on by Sept. 16, some by Sept. 20, and some by Sept. 27. The last of these groups originally consisted of the cities of Tateyama, Kamogawa, and Minamiboso, and the town of Kyonan -- all in the prefecture's south. However, TEPCO Power Grid's newest projection now lists 22 municipalities in this group, including central cities such as Ichihara, Kisarazu, and the prefectural capital Chiba.

According to the company, the delays are due to the discovery of more damage during repairs, requiring extra work, and to slow progress on clearing felled trees mostly in mountainous areas of the southern Boso Peninsula.

"Our initial (repair time) estimate was off, and we have been unable to fulfill the expectations of residents. Now, we have a far more severe estimate," a TEPCO Power Grid public relations official stated.

After the typhoon pummeled Chiba Prefecture's Boso Peninsula, the power distribution company first stated that it would have all electricity restored by the end of Sept. 11. But when that day arrived, the company pushed the estimate back to "Sept. 13 or later." Then on Sept. 13, it stated that the power would "mostly" be back on "by around Sept. 27." The new estimate released on Sept. 14 is the company's third recovery plan revision.

Meanwhile, according to Chiba Prefecture, there were still some 20,000 households without running water as of 4 p.m. on Sept. 15, and 274 people were still living in evacuation shelters.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) forecast heavy rain and strong winds primarily in southern Chiba Prefecture and the Pacific coast as a front approached the area on the morning of Sept. 16. Some areas may see downpours of 30 millimeters per hour, and the JMA is warning residents to be careful of landslides and swollen rivers.

(Japanese original by Kentaro Mori, City News Department, and Takashi Miyazaki, Special Reports Department)

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