Photo/IllutrationRestoration workers try to fix power lines that toppled in winds triggered by Typhoon No. 15 in Minami-Boso, Chiba Prefecture, on Sept. 11. (Tomomi Terasawa)

  • Photo/Illustraion

CHIBA--Widespread typhoon damage was blamed for yet more delays in restoring power to hundreds of thousands of homes in Chiba Prefecture neighboring Tokyo.

Around 350,000 homes were still without power as of 5 a.m. on Sept. 12, according to TEPCO Power Grid Inc.

The company, an offshoot of Tokyo Electric Power Co., said it expected to restore power to about 40,000 homes in the cities of Chiba, Yachiyo, Yotsukaido and Inzai, and a part of Ichihara, before the day is out.

It had expected to have the situation under full control as early as Sept. 13, but said it was difficult to grasp how quickly the work could be completed.

TEPCO Power Grid blamed the delay on toppled electricity distribution lines and numerous fallen trees in mountainous areas, making access difficult for large vehicles.

Typhoon No. 15 tore through the prefecture on Sept. 9.

“We're unable to grasp a full picture of the damage,” said Kazuyuki Shiokawa, the company’s engineering supervisor. “Our estimate of damage after the typhoon was overly optimistic."

As of Sept. 12, 11,000 or so workers were trying to restore power to homes. They were joined by 2,400 from other power companies.

Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai chided the company when he spoke to reporters on Sept. 12, saying, “It's not helpful for victims when the company makes overly optimistic forecasts.”

He conceded that the company was making utmost efforts to restore power to homes.

"But we want them to have sense to convey information that allows everyone to prepare for a worst-case scenario.”

TEPCO Power Grid late Sept. 10 forecast that all power would be restored by the end of Sept. 11.

There have been at least two heat-related deaths in Chiba Prefecture as a result of power and water outages.

For more information about getting the power turned back on, please refer to TEPCO’s website in Japanese (http://www.tepco.co.jp/index-j.html) and its twitter site.

(This article was written by Eri Niiya and Shoko Terasaki.)