Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday it will seek an average 17 percent rise in electricity rates for corporate users to finance growing fuel costs stemming from boosting thermal power generation in light of the triple-meltdown crisis at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The rate hikes, which would take effect April 1, will affect some 240,000 contracts for 50 kw or more, and boost Tepco’s revenue by ¥400 billion annually.
With all of Tepco’s nuclear reactors expected to be shut down by March for regular checks or other reasons, Tepco President Toshio Nishizawa said that under the utility’s current precarious situation, the procurement of fuel and provision of stable electricity supply could be in doubt.
“We will continue to do our best to streamline (our operations), but we have to ask for (rate) hikes,” Nishizawa said.
The announcement indicates electricity charges will be raised by ¥2.61 per kwh for customers contracting to consume under 2,000 kw, and by ¥2.58 per kwh for those using more power.
According to the utility, fuel costs for the financial year ending March 31 are expected to increase by about ¥830 billion from the previous year.
Tepco said in December that it also hopes to raise household electricity bills, but doing so requires the government’s OK, and the approving party, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano, has warned Tepco not to casually assume this tack.
Sources have said Tepco hopes to raise household electricity rates by 10 percent for a certain period from next fall.
The hike is expected to be included in a special business plan Tepco and the state-backed entity providing financial aid to the utility hope to present in March.