Utilities eye October rate cuts

Kyodo

Eight of the nation’s 10 power utilities will cut rates in October thanks to falling crude and coal prices, marking the first time in 10 months that electricity prices haven’t risen.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Chubu Electric Power Co. said Thursday they will keep October’s prices at September levels. Tepco has been relying on liquefied natural gas to fuel its thermal power plants since the loss of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster started, and rising LNG prices have been offsetting the decline in oil prices, Tepco said.

Chubu Electric has already hiked prices by the maximum it can under the monthly tariff adjustment system to reflect changing fuel procurement costs.

Okinawa Electric, which has the highest prices in the country, is cutting prices by ¥36, which will lower the monthly bill for an average household that consumes 300 kilowatt-hours to ¥8,080.

Four major suppliers of city gas, meanwhile, have decided to raise rates in October to offset rising LNG prices, marking the seventh consecutive month of rate increases.

The gas rate hikes for October range from ¥11 at Osaka Gas Co. to ¥6 at Saibu Gas Co., which serves Fukuoka and other parts of Kyushu.