Fierce competition is heating up among electric, gas and oil companies to win more household customers and increase sales.
Power companies are proposing “all electricity” homes in which electricity is used for all household energy needs, including hot water.
A renovated condominium complex near completion in a quiet Mitaka neighborhood in western Tokyo is drawing attention as one of the first equipped with “all electricity” devices.
The 11 units in the complex are being offered for sale by ReBITA Inc., a joint venture company established by Tokyo Electric Power Co. and a real estate planning firm.
“We have received inquiries from 10 times as many applicants as the number of units offered,” said Masahiro Nishida, a senior manager at ReBITA who is on loan from Tepco.
Each unit is equipped with an induction-heating stove, which is easy to clean and allows safe cooking without an open flame.
“All-electricity” devices, including IH cooking stoves and ovens, are being gradually installed in new condos, but not many in renovated ones.
Tepco wants to promote the devices when old condos are renovated.
Gas companies are also trying to expand sales of gas appliances by sponsoring community-based activities.
Enesta Nishi-Ogikubo, a gas appliance retailer affiliated with Tokyo Gas Co., holds a cooking class for local housewives who have purchased high-end gas stoves.
It demonstrates the convenience of using the stoves and shows various ways to cook with them in the class.
The company’s sales of the stoves nearly doubled in fiscal 2004 due to these efforts, said a company official.
“Since housewives often decide whether to buy a product based on the opinion of their friends, our word-of-mouth approach is effective,” the official said.
Oil companies are joining the fray.
Nippon Oil Corp. focuses on fuel cells, which are touted as the next-generation energy source as they are environmentally friendly.
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