TEPCO mulls household rate hike

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said Tuesday that it is considering raising regulated electricity prices for households, a move that requires the government’s approval.

The company is expected to apply within this year at the earliest to gain state approval for the hike, in hopes of implementing revised prices from fiscal 2023. TEPCO last raised its regulated rates in 2012.

Five other major power utilities, including Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Hokuriku Electric Power Co., are also considering such price hikes, in the face of deteriorating business performance due to surging fuel prices and the yen’s weakening.

“It is important to secure stable business foundations in order to fulfill our responsibility over the Fukushima accident and ensure power supply stability,” TEPCO Vice President Hiroyuki Yamaguchi told a news conference, asking for the public’s understanding of the company’s price hike plan.

TEPCO is the owner of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, the site of the 2011 triple meltdown.

After the liberalization of the retail electricity market in Japan, there are two types of household electricity rates: regulated rates and discretionary rates, which power companies can revise according to their judgments.