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Tepco client outflow surged 20% in 2013

JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Co. lost around 8,450 large-lot customers in fiscal 2013, up some 20 percent from the year before, according to sources.

The contracted electricity supply of those clients totaled 1.2 million kilowatts, equivalent to the output of a large nuclear reactor, the sources said.

Tepco’s rate hike for corporate users in April 2012 spurred an exodus to newcomers in the electricity sector, they said. Thanks to the gradual liberalization of the market since March 2000, clients with contracts for at least 50 kilowatts can freely choose their own power suppliers.

Of the roughly 220,000 customers in Tepco’s service area covered by the liberalization moves, 30,900 abandoned the utility between March 2000 and this March 31, the end of fiscal 2013. Their departure represents 6 million kw.

Since customers tend to change contracts at the turn of the fiscal year, the utility lost an additional 1,300 customers who needed 200,000 kw on April 1.

Utilities affiliated with urban gas suppliers and trading conglomerates have intensified sales promotions in Tepco’s area, offering customers lower rates. In addition, Chubu Electric Power Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co. entered the Tokyo metropolitan market in fiscal 2013.

Tepco plans to start supplying electricity to users outside its service area in fiscal 2014, aiming to snatch customers from rival utilities, a senior Tepco official said