• Kyodo

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The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Friday gave Chubu Electric Power Co. permission to raise household electricity rates by an average of 3.7 percent on May 1.

Chubu Electric will be the seventh regional utility to hike rates in response to the halt in nuclear power generation brought on by the 2011 reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The margin was almost 1.2 points lower than the request submitted by Chubu Electric, which serves the central region surrounding Nagoya.

Although the ministry curbed its originally proposed rate hike by reviewing fuel costs, customers will bear a higher burden from May. A household using 300 kilowatt-hours per month is expected to pay an additional ¥165 from May, METI said.

On April 1, the utility raised rates by an average of 8.4 percent for corporate customers, which did not require government approval.

But following the approval for the household rate hike, Chubu Electric said it will trim the margin of the rate hike for businesses by 1.2 points, applying it retroactively and returning the difference.

The government has already allowed six other regional utilities to raise household rates.

Many utilities are facing higher fuel costs for thermal power generation to make up for the loss of nuclear power.

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