Tepco to install household ‘smart meters’ from fall 2013

Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to introduce next-generation “smart meters” in households in fall 2013 to increase efficient energy use and curb power demand.

Tepco, facing enormous costs from the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, aims to deploy the meters used for smart-grid power delivery systems at about 27 million customers, including large-scale offices and factories, by fiscal 2022.

By fiscal 2018, Tepco’s target is 17 million electricity users, including households and smaller offices.

Consumers can manage power demand with smart meters equipped with communications functions that enable them to check power consumption of appliances at all times.

Through the use of smart meters, Tepco aims to avoid rolling blackouts like those implemented after the March 11 disasters, and cut ballooning fuel costs for thermal power generation, which was increased to make up for the suspension of nuclear plants.

To cut procurement costs, the utility will select the provider of 3 million smart meters by holding an open tender. It will solicit bids after releasing the draft design and functions of the meters in mid-March and finalizing the plan in June, Tepco officials said.

It will be Tepco’s first time to hold a bid for meters. The officials said they hope the move will help lower the cost of each smart meter from ¥50,000 now to less than ¥10,000.