Tohoku Electric Power Co on Thursday filed a request with the government to hike electricity rates from July.
If implemented, the rate for households would be increased by 11.41% a month, which would mean an average monthly rate hike of 540 yen. For businesses and large-lot users, the utility is seeking a 17.74% rate hike.
Headquartered in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, the utility supplies power to six prefectures in the Tohoku region as well as Niigata Prefecture.
Tohoku Electric Power Co President Makoto Kaiwa told a news conference that the utility had no choice but to apply for a rate hike in the face of tough economic conditions, Sankei Shimbun reported. He said that his company will do all it can to cut back on costs and that all executives will take a 20% salary cut for three years.
Tohoku Electric Power had hoped to get government permission to restart its idled Higashidori nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture by 2015, but that now appears to be in doubt after a panel commissioned by the Nuclear Regulation Authority said in January that two major faults underneath the plant are believed to be active — a contradiction of operator Tohoku Electric Power Co's assertion that they are inactive.
The panel said the faults could cause magnitude 7-class earthquakes near the reactor, which was opened in 2005 and is among the newest of Japan's aging reactors.
Unless it can present evidence that reverses the current analysis, Tohoku Electric would have to re-evaluate the seismic impact and reinforce the facility before it could reopen, a process that could take years.© Japan Today/AP