Over 3 million households in Japan have switched their electricity suppliers to new entrants to the retail power market since the market was fully liberalized last April.

Although the figure accounts for only 5 percent of overall household subscribers, the trend is expected to gather steam this year as sales of city gas are also set to be opened up next month.

Before the market was liberalized, 10 major electric power companies, including Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., had a stranglehold on the ¥8 trillion electric power business, controlling power generation, distribution and retail sales.