Electricity sales by the nation’s 10 regional utilities in fiscal 2011 fell by a record 5.1 percent to 859.8 billion kwh compared with 2010 as the March 11 disasters wreaked havoc in eastern and northeastern Japan, an industry body said Friday.
In the year ended last month, industrial power demand plunged in disaster-hit regions and power conservation grew to offset the gradual fall in atomic power caused by the Fukushima disaster, said the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan.
Residential power sales fell 5.0 percent to 288.9 billion kwh, while commercial sales, including to offices and schools, plunged 8.4 percent to 188.1 billion kwh. Both drops were the biggest ever.
The drop in industrial sales was limited to 3.2 percent as firms such as Chubu Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. boosted sales to the sector.
In March, electricity sales by the 10 utilities rose 6.1 percent from the same month the previous year for the first rise in 13 months.
Chubu Electric eyes LNG
Chubu Electric Power Co. is stepping up measures to stabilize procurement of such fossil fuels as liquefied natural gas and coal for power generation, company officials said.
It plans to expand LNG imports from Australia in a bid to diversify its procurement sources to help prevent any destabilization in the Middle East from seriously affecting overall supplies.
Chubu Electric is uncertain whether it will be able to restart its one nuclear power station. The utility has so far imported 50 percent of its LNG from Qatar, 30 percent from Indonesia and 10 percent from Australia.
In the latter half of the 2010s, the company plans to even out its LNG purchases from the three countries by increasing imports from Australia. It has also signed agreements with overseas energy giants to buy LNG without determining the countries where the gas would be produced.
Chubu Electric has recently transferred its coal procurement division from its head office in Nagoya to Singapore, a center for international coal transactions.
Since Chubu Electric shut down the Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture due to earthquake fears over the Fukushima radiation crisis, its costs have shot up on fossil fuel procurement.
Its total fuel costs in fiscal 2011 jumped an estimated 50 percent from the previous year to ¥1.04 trillion, forcing it to incur a group net loss of ¥110 billion.