News that 7-Eleven stores in the Kansai region will trade Kansai Electric Power Co.'s electricity in favor of cheaper electricity from Tokyo Electric Power Co. has locals wondering if Kepco's six-decade monopoly over Kansai's electricity supply might be ending.

From October, about 1,000 Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd. stores in three Kansai prefectures will purchase their electricity from Tepco. The move comes just months after Kepco raised rates, and Seven-Eleven Japan, noting Tepco's cheaper fees, made the move to switch utilities.

Stores in Nara, Wakayama and Hyogo prefectures will receive 32,000 kw of Tepco-provided electricity from a self-generator at the utility's Kansai factory. That's enough to power about 10,000 homes. For Seven-Eleven Japan, switching to Tepco means reduced electricity costs amounting to hundreds of millions of yen.