TEPCO criticized for being vague on terms of higher rates for corporate users
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on Wednesday came under more criticism after it admitted that it had been vague on conditions for hiking electricity bills for corporate users, starting April 1.
In January, TEPCO said the hike in rates will be applied to companies for 50 kilowatts or more, and is expected to bring an extra 400 billion yen annually to its coffers to cover costs of switching to other forms of power.
However, the utility neglected to explain that corporate users won’t have to pay the extra rate until their current contract expires.
TEPCO President Toshio Nishizawa made the announcement on Wednesday and apologized for not having made that point clear in January.
TEPCO says that contracts with 25% of its corporate clients will expire on March 31.
Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano told a news conference that TEPCO had once again shown its mismanagement of issues and called on the utility to do a better job of explaining who the rate hike will apply to and from when, NHK reported.
Nishizawa also said that TEPCO has not yet made a decision on whether rates for consumers will have to be raised. Government approval is needed to raise the utility bill for consumers.
TEPCO has said its fuel costs for fiscal 2012 are expected to increase by about 830 billion yen from the previous year.
Compensation for victims, decontamination expenses and costs for scrapping the plant are likely to balloon to trillions of more yen, and some taxpayer money has already been earmarked for a part of that bill.