Tokyo Electric loses 5,800 big clients in six months

JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Co. lost about 5,800 large clients in the six months through Oct. 1, informed sources said Sunday.

In fiscal 2013, which began in April, the number of Tepco clients who had contracts for at least 50 kw was declining faster than the previous year, when the utility monopoly for eastern Japan was hit by 7,000 large-lot cancellations.

The sources also said Tepco had 225,000 large-lot contracts as of Sept. 26, after losing 28,250 since the phased liberalization of Japan’s retail power market began in March 2000.

Most of the customers who dumped Tepco are believed to have shifted to upstart power suppliers trying to enter the market, they said.

Tepco’s service area is inviting to other electricity suppliers because it’s so large.

Chubu Electric Power Co., which serves central Japan, turned new Tokyo-based power retailer Diamond Power Corp. into a subsidiary earlier this month to enter the metropolitan market. Kansai Electric Power Co., based in Osaka, is considering a similar move.

Reeling Tepco is expected to face tougher competition as the full liberalization of the retail power market in 2016 approaches. But Tepco isn’t the only big utility that is suffering from customer flight.

Kansai Electric lost 2,036 major customers in the six months to Oct. 1 and Kyushu Electric Power Co. lost 688. The two utilities lost only 61 and 168 clients, respectively, for the whole of fiscal 2012, the sources said.