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Four regional utilities stopped signing contracts to buy renewable energy from big solar power plants and other suppliers starting Wednesday, limiting an influx that is testing the nation’s electricity grid.

The decision by the utilities serving Shikoku, Hokkaido, Tohoku and Okinawa, and a similar move last week by Kyushu Electric Power Co., threatens to undermine the national push to expand renewable energy supply in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

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