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Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Chubu Electric Power Co. are considering integrating their thermal power generation business in fiscal 2018, a report said Monday.

Tepco, an embattled utility facing the gigantic cost of dealing with the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, and Chubu Electric may announce the deal this spring, the Asahi Shimbun said in its online report.

In 2015, the two utilities jointly set up JERA, a firm to oversee their thermal power business. The firm is equally funded by Tepco and Chubu Electric. The latest deal is aimed at giving more role to the joint firm, the report said.

If the deal clears anti-monopoly regulations, the joint firm would enjoy about 40 percent of market share in Japan’s thermal power generation, Asahi said.

Up to now, Chubu Electric had been skeptical about bolstering the business of JERA because it believed Tepco could be forced to use proceeds from the thermal power business by the joint firm to cover the cost of the Fukushima cleanup. But Tepco recently compiled a draft business revamp plan that has convinced Chubu Electric that such proceeds won’t be diverted, Asahi said.