Kansai Electric, 4 Others Submit Biz Improvement Plans

TOKYO (Jiji Press)—Kansai Electric Power Co. and four other Japanese power companies Friday submitted to the industry ministry plans to improve their business operations after unauthorized accesses to customer information managed by subsidiaries.

Under the plans, the companies will terminate the sharing of computer systems between the parents and their power transmission and distribution units while improving employee awareness of legal compliance through training programs.

The other four are Kansai Transmission and Distribution Inc., Kyushu Electric Power Co., Kyushu Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Transmission & Distribution Co.

Also on Friday, Kansai Electric announced fresh punishments of 24 officials including subsidiary workers.

“We all will make utmost efforts to transform our company into a new firm ensuring thorough compliance,” Kansai Electric President Nozomu Mori told a press conference in Osaka, western Japan.

Chugoku Electric separately announced additional punishments of six officials, including a 10% pay cut for a month for President Natsuhiko Takimoto.

Kyushu Electric has already disclosed punishments of six officials, including a two-month pay cut of 40% for President Kazuhiro Ikebe.

Kansai Electric, also involved in other scandals including price cartel formation, said the same day that it will consider establishing an optimal electricity retail business structure, including the separation of power generation and sales operations.

Industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a press conference that his ministry will monitor whether the improvement plans are implemented steadily.

The ministry is considering revising the electricity business law to toughen punishments of power companies that violated rules.

In December last year and later, employees of major power companies were found to have made unauthorized accesses to data on rival companies managed by their own subsidiaries.

In April this year, the ministry issued business improvement orders to the five companies and made business improvement recommendations to other industry players.

Under the law, power companies are banned from using information held by their power transmission and distribution subsidiaries for sales activities.