Fourteen major electricity and gas companies in Japan will raise their rates in July, the fourth consecutive month for rate hikes since April.
The utilities say they have to raise rates due to the higher cost of importing fuel caused by the weakening yen. Other factors cited are that since all their nuclear reactors but two are offline, costs have surged due to the utilities’ switch to geothermal power, and they face a shortage in operating revenue.
The 10 major electricity companies said the rates will be at their highest since May 2009. For example, compared to June, the monthly household rates will be 116 yen higher for Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) customers and 87 yen higher for Chubu Electric Power Co customers.
The four major gas companies, including Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas, have already announced a rate hike for June. They said the July hike may not be the last one, if the yen keeps falling.
With demand for electricity soaring for air conditioners in summer, households face a tough time. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has requested utilities to carry out further cost-cutting measures in order to minimize the impact for consumers.
Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) said it will implement salary cuts of 16% for all employees and sell off some assets worth 7.5 billion yen. Kyushu Electric said it hopes to raise 14 billion yen by selling various facilities.© Japan Today