• Kyodo


Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday it has tied up with media service firm Recruit Holdings Co. and a Mitsubishi Corp. affiliate that operates a loyalty-points system to boost its online service for subscribers ahead of market liberalization next April.

The utility plans to upgrade its online power-bill bookkeeping service in January with Recruit’s life- and home-related web services and Loyalty Marketing Inc.’s “Ponta” point service, it said.

From April 2016 at the earliest, Tepco’s household subscribers using the Ponta system for paying electricity bills will earn points that can be used for payment at Lawson convenience stores, other retailers and restaurants across Japan.

While Ponta points, currently available to the service’s 69.51 million subscribers, can be used at about 23,000 stores and restaurants, Recruit is slated to switch its own point service to Ponta in the winter, increasing services for which those points can be used, Tepco said.

Under the April 2016 deregulation, which will inject competition into Japan’s regionally monopolized electricity retail market, Tepco’s customer base is expected to erode as households will be able to choose a supplier.

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