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Tokyo Electric Power Co. will invite bids for the supply of 2,600 megawatts of thermal power as part of its turnaround plan to cut costs.

Tepco will buy electricity from winning bidders for 10 years to 30 years, starting as early as June 2019, it said in a statement Monday. The utility will accept bids between early February and late May and select suppliers by the end of July.

The Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund in July took control of Tepco in return for a ¥1 trillion capital injection after the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant left it on the brink of bankruptcy. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees energy companies, requires utilities to invite bids for thermal power to cut electricity prices under new guidelines released in September.

The rule is expected to help Tepco reduce investment and generation costs, Noboru Yoneda, general manager of Tepco’s power contracts, told reporters. Winners in the past three tenders offered prices that were as much as 40 percent lower than the maximum price set by Tepco, Yoneda said.

Tepco said it plans to buy electricity at less than ¥9.53 per kwh from suppliers. The price is based on Tepco’s coal power generation cost, Yoneda said.

Coal power generation is estimated to cost ¥9.5 per kwh, compared with ¥10.7 for liquefied natural gas and ¥36 for oil, the government’s advisory panel said in December.

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