Yahoo! responds to Japan’s energy shortage with ‘Power Usage Indicator’

As a result of the earthquake and nuclear crisis, a shortage of power has become an everyday issue for Japanese consumers and businesses. There is a growing concern that this will impact economic recovery, with factories stopping operations every now and then, commuters delayed by trains that periodically stop or slow down, and shops and restaurants closing earlier. People have become extremely conscious of the need to conserve power in their everyday lives, especially with the hot summer approaching, a time when power usage peaks with use of air-conditioning.

Shortly after the earthquake, Yahoo! started displaying a “Power Usage Indicator” on its home page. It uses data from the utility TEPCO to show how much power is being used, updated by the hour, giving people a tangible way to gauge the current situation. Until the earthquake, most people didn’t think much about their energy consumption and used power as if the supply were infinite. The indicator makes people constantly aware of the issue and lets them know when to be especially careful about their own usage.

This is a good example of “branded utility”—finding practical ways to help people in response to the difficulties that arise during our recovery process.

森田尚子 - 東京




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