5 Power Firms Slapped with Biz Improvement Orders

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The industry ministry issued business improvement orders on Monday to five power companies, including Kansai Electric Power Co., over unauthorized access to customer information of rival companies.

The ministry has found that the scandal could undermine the purpose of the liberalization of the industry, which is to ensure fair competition.

The five, also including Kansai Transmission and Distribution Inc., Kyushu Electric Power Co., Kyushu Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Transmission & Distribution Co., were ordered to submit measures by May 12 to drastically strengthen internal controls.

Since December, the five and two other power companies have engaged in unauthorized access to information on a total of at least 700,000 customers of rival power retailers.

The ministry issued the orders to the five because their actions were particularly malicious. Among the five, Kansai Electric used the information in its sales activities.

The ministry demanded that Kansai Electric and other parent companies stop sharing systems with their power transmission and distribution subsidiaries and set up separate servers within three years.

Japan fully liberalized its electricity retail market in 2016 and introduced a system in 2020 to separate power generation and distribution to ensure neutrality in the distribution sector.