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The Japan Electric Power Exchange said Thursday it will begin receiving membership applications Oct. 1 during the runup to its launch of wholesale electricity trading next April.

The electricity trading exchange will be the first of its kind in Japan. The power market is expected to increase electricity trading and eventually reduce electricity bills through more effective use of surplus power.

JEPX was founded by power utilities and other electricity producers last year to monitor spot and futures trading in electricity.

The founders include Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan’s largest power utility, as well as newcomers Nippon Steel Corp. and Osaka Gas Co.

Currently, the exchange comprises 21 member entities, JEPX said, adding it wants membership to expand to dozens of firms by the start of trading.

JEPX was established from a government blueprint drawn up early last year for deregulation of the electrical power market in Japan. The minimum contract unit at present for the retail sale of electricity is 500 kw. The unit will be lowered to 50 kw next April, a deregulation move that will cover more than 60 percent of power sold in Japan.

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