Panel Wants Power Firms to Fully Separate Transmission Biz

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The headquarters of The Kansai Electric Power Co. are seen in Osaka in April 2021.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A government panel has recommended that electricity companies with retail divisions separate their power transmission and distribution divisions completely from themselves.

The Cabinet Office expert panel made the recommendation Thursday after retail division employees at major power companies, including Kansai Electric Power Co., were found to have inappropriately obtained customer information held by the companies’ electricity transmission and distribution divisions.

Power companies should end their ownership of the power transmission and distribution divisions completely, the panel said, pointing to the need to secure a fair competitive environment through strict information management.

The panel hopes that its recommendation will be reflected in the government’s regulatory reform implementation plan to be drawn up this summer.

In April 2016, Japan fully liberalized the electricity retail market to help the electricity industry improve customer services and to create more business opportunities for companies outside the industry.

As part of the liberalization, major power suppliers separated their power transmission and distribution operations from themselves. But the operations remain under their control as subsidiaries of the suppliers or their holding companies.

Power transmission and distribution operations hold information on customers of new entrants to the power retail industry.