OSAKA – Kansai Electric Power Co. said Friday that it expects to swing to a group net profit for the first time in five years in the fiscal year through March, helped by the restart of a reactor at its Takahama nuclear plant in central Japan.
At a news conference in Osaka, Kansai Electric President Makoto Yagi said the company aims to reduce electricity fees early in the year beginning in April.
The company expects to post a net profit of ¥150 billion for the current year, compared with a loss of ¥148.3 billion in the previous year.
In addition to the No. 3 reactor, which was reactivated Friday afternoon, Kansai Electric plans to restart the No. 4 reactor at the plant in Fukui Prefecture in late February.
The restart of the two reactors is seen as improving Kansai Electric’s earnings by ¥5 billion per reactor each month. The company is also benefiting from falling fuel prices.
Kansai Electric’s dependency on nuclear power was the highest of Japanese power companies with nuclear plants before the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Due to this, Kansai Electric’s financial performance deteriorated sharply after the suspension of its nuclear reactors following the Fukushima accident. The company raised electricity fees twice, in 2013 and 2015.
In the nine months ended in December, Kansai Electric and nine other major Japanese power suppliers posted pretax profits as their fuel costs dropped 36 percent thanks to lower crude oil prices.
Kansai Electric, Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. swung to pretax profits, while TEPCO and Tohoku Electric Power Co. enjoyed record pretax profits.
Kyushu Electric’s earnings were pushed up by the restart of two reactors at its Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.
But eight of the 10 companies saw their sales drop, since some of their large-lot users shifted to new electricity suppliers.
The 10 major companies are facing the challenge of stemming an outflow of customers after electricity retailing across the country is fully liberalized in April.