Governors slam Tepco’s price hikes

Kyodo

The governors of Tokyo and nine other prefectures submitted a petition Wednesday calling Tepco’s planned electricity rate hikes “extremely regrettable” and urged the utility to first accelerate efforts to restructure and rationalize its operations.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. intends to raise electricity charges for companies an average of 17 percent starting in April, and also hopes to increase rates for household users in the near future to cover fuel costs driven up by having to rely more heavily on thermal power.

Price hikes would effectively force consumers to pay for Tepco’s errors and the central government’s lax oversight of the nuclear power industry, the 10 governors said in the petition submitted to the central government, Tepco and the government-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund.

“Although the direct cause of the accident at the Fukushima complex was the earthquake and tsunami, we cannot deny it is also a man-made disaster, given (the plant’s) insufficient safety measures and the responses to the accident,” the petition reads.

It was signed by the governors of Tokyo, Yamanashi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Shizuoka and Nagano prefectures.