Kyushu Electric: 36% rate hike if no reactors

Kansai utility may also face 30% rise without restart

JIJI, Kyodo

Kyushu Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it will have to raise electricity rates for household and corporate users by 35.64 percent on average if all of its nuclear reactors remain idled.

The utility reported the estimate to a meeting of an industry ministry panel examining its planned average rate hike of 8.51 percent for households starting in April.

The company, which serves Kyushu, applied for the rate hike on the premise that four of its six reactors will be brought back online.

It also plans an average rate increase of 14.22 percent for corporate users, a hike that does not require government approval.

Kansai Electric Power Co. has also sought government approval for an average power rate increase of 11.88 percent for households on the assumption that four reactors will be in operation.

The four include reactors 3 and 4 at its Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture. Reactivated in July, the pair are the nation’s only active reactors. Safety concerns fueled by the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant halted or left in limbo the country’s other reactors.

Kepco, which serves the Kansai region, is believed to see the need for a rate hike of roughly 30 percent if all of its reactors are offline, although it has not disclosed its estimate.

Barring any problems, the minister of economy, trade and industry is expected to approve the rate hikes in or after February.

Kyushu Electric and Kepco said their procurement costs for crude oil and coal for thermal power generation in fiscal 2013-2015 are expected to be higher than the country’s current import prices.

The two utilities have also offered to sell some assets in their streamlining efforts.

Kansai Electric officials said the utility is planning to sell ¥7.5 billion worth of land this year and next, which would mount to a total of 108 sites that had been used for such purposes as company housing, recreation facilities and business operations.

Kyushu Electric officials said the firm will consider selling assets worth some ¥14 billion.

The assets may include securities as well as sites for gymnasiums, parking facilities, company housing and other purposes, they said.

MHI-Hitachi tieup eyed

Kyodo

The president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. expressed optimism Tuesday about integrating the company’s nuclear power business with that of Hitachi Ltd., after the two firms last month announced a merger of their thermal power generation business.

Further collaboration with Hitachi in the fields of nuclear power generation as well as transportation infrastructure will be “possible,” Hideaki Omiya said in an interview, while adding that Mitsubishi Heavy is “not in a rush” to decide on the matter.