The rapidly weakening yen means Japan’s utilities may no longer be able to protect households from the worst of the global energy crisis, setting the stage for a winter of higher power bills in a country not yet accustomed to rampant inflation.

While fuel prices catapulted to new highs this year, the impact on Japan’s households has so far been limited by government regulations which cap price increases. Import costs for coal have tripled in the last year and the price of natural gas has doubled, yet residents in Tokyo are only paying about 25% more.

Now, several Japanese utilities — which buy overseas fuel in dollars to produce electricity — are considering asking the government to allow them to raise prices further and remove curbs, according to people with knowledge of the matter.