Kepco dangles financial carrot for power-saving homes

JIJI

Kansai Electric Power Co. plans to award gift certificates and preferential treatment to households that meet energy-saving targets this summer, company officials said.

The utility revealed the plan, the first time it will offer such rewards, at a meeting Friday of an energy strategy panel created jointly by the Osaka Prefectural Government and Osaka Municipal Government.

In a further measure to curb peak power demand, Kansai Electric will raise the electricity rate around 3 p.m. and lower the charge at night, the officials said.

The utility will also offer bigger discounts to corporate customers that shift their operations from weekdays to weekends, when electricity demand is significantly lower, they said.

The power company’s hand was forced by the uncertainty over reactivating the idled reactors 3 and 4 at its Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, despite the central government’s decision last month to effectively approve a resumption of operations.

Even if the two reactors go back online, the utility is predicting that its service area in the Kansai region could still experience a power shortfall during summertime.