• Kyodo

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Tokyo Electric Power Co. will likely forgo another price hike before the March 31 end of fiscal 2014 because it plans to cut costs further, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.

The operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is expected to raise its cost-cutting goal by more than ¥250 billion from the initial ¥570 billion set in its revised turnaround plan, which was approved by the government in January, the sources said.

Tepco is facing massive compensation payments and costs for the plant’s decommissioning work.

Cutting costs is crucial for the cash-strapped company as it remains uncertain when it can restart two nuclear reactors at its giant Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture.

In Tepco’s business plan, the utility had hoped to restart the reactors 6 and 7 at the complex by last July, but the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety screening process is expected to take much longer.

All of Japan’s 48 commercial reactors remain offline.

In the absence of nuclear power, utilities have seen energy costs surge as they buy fossil fuels for thermal power generation, but plummeting oil prices may soon ease that.

Tepco plans to take such measures as reducing energy costs further and streamlining maintenance on its thermal-power plants.

A committee comprising Tepco and outside experts, established in September, will compile a report on cost-cutting measures by the end of the year, the sources said.

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