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Kansai, Kyushu utilities raise prices on households to offset fuel costs

Kyodo

Kansai Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. on Wednesday raised household rates to offset their higher fuel costs for running thermal power plants, which have been performing extra duty since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis shut down their reactors.

Kansai Electric Power’s rates went up by an average of 9.75 percent, while Kyushu Electric Power raised its fees by an average of 6.23 percent. It is the first time in 33 years either utility has raised their household electricity rates which needs government approval.

A standard household in the Kansai region using 300 kwh of electricity a month will see its monthly bill rise by about ¥457 for a total of ¥7,454. In Kyushu, the monthly bill for a similar household will be ¥362 more in May and come to ¥6,996.

They raised their rates for corporate customers last month. In Kansai, the rate went up by an average of 17.26 percent. In Kyushu the average increase was 11.94 percent. Raising the corporate rate by any amount does not require an OK from the government.

The two utilities applied to raise their household rates in November. Kansai Electric wanted a 11.88 percent hike, while Kyushu Electric sought 8.51 percent. The government ordered them to trim their requests and instead trim their own expenses.