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Tepco mulls power cuts for industries refusing its rate hike

Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. may suspend power supply to companies and factories that are refusing to accept the utility’s higher electricity rates, which it has increased since last April by an average of 14.9 percent, a company official said Wednesday.

The utility, which is struggling because of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster that started in 2011, has been unable to renew around 1,100 contracts, a Tepco official said.

Tepco would be the first major utility to cut off power because of the expiration of contracts caused by a rate hike.

The utility has continued to supply electricity to the firms and factories even after the expiration of their contracts, with the bills left unpaid totaling ¥7 billion.

“Customers that have accepted the rate hike said that it is unfair,” the Tepco official said.

Since last April, Tepco has raised electricity rates for corporate customers in Tokyo and surrounding areas to help finance fossil fuel costs stemming from boosting thermal power generation now that all of its reactors are shut down.

The electricity rates of corporate customers are decided through negotiations between the customers and the utility.