Tokyo Electric Power Co. said net income will rise 19 percent this fiscal year and that it will put off an increase in electricity rates in favor of more cost cuts.
The country’s biggest electricity utility is projecting net income of ¥521 billion ($4.4 billion) from ¥438.6 billion last year. It said it will reduce costs by ¥873 billion, including job cuts, in the fiscal year ending March 31, according to a statement on Wednesday.
Tepco and other power companies are under pressure to reduce overheads as all of the nation’s 48 reactors have been shut following the Fukushima atomic disaster more than 3½ years ago. That’s forced them to import more oil, gas and coal for other power plants, causing a surge in fuel bills.
The government estimates regional power companies paid ¥3.6 trillion ($30.7 billion) more in fuel costs in fiscal 2013 compared with fiscal 2010 before Fukushima.
Even as the country’s nuclear regulator is gradually approving tougher safety standards on some reactors, Tepco’s units are not yet among them. The company is the operator of the crippled Fukushima plant.
Tepco had expected to restart two reactors at its Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant, the world’s biggest, as early as July this year in the turnaround plan released in January. That’s since been pushed back to July next year or later.
Restarting the Kashiwazaki plant is “essential” for the company’s business, according to the statement.
Tepco, which serves 29 million customers in Tokyo and surrounding areas, raised electricity rates for households by about 8.5 percent in September 2012.
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