TOKYO Aug 12 Tokyo Electric Power Co may hive off its hydropower and renewable energy operations into a separate unit, sources with knowledge of the matter said, in another element to a revamp as it tries to recover from the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011.
Tepco, as the utility is called, has drafted successive recovery plans to restore its finances after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, which led to its takeover by the government.
A plan agreed by the government in January hinges on Tepco restarting its Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant to cut fossil fuel costs, a contentious undertaking staunchly opposed by the local governor.
With no units at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant likely to be rebooted soon and with Japan undertaking reforms to fully liberalise the electricity industry, the company needs to consider further measures, said one of the sources, who is not authorized to speak to the media.
The company had already planned to split into three units under a holding company, covering power generation, electricity transmission and distribution and retail sales.
The hydro and renewable energy unit would aim for average annual pretax profit of 17 billion yen ($166 million) between 2016 and 2022, the Nikkei newspaper reported earlier.
Tepco is considering splitting into various units to be placed under the holding company, but nothing has been decided, a company spokesman said by phone.
The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered three reactor meltdowns at Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi plant north of Tokyo.
In the more than three years since the disaster, the utility has been plagued by a string of setbacks at the Fukushima station, including leaks of highly radioactive water last year, prompting the government to step in with more support.
The disaster led to the shutdown of all of Japan's reactors, which are being subject to tougher safety standards. Two reactors in southwestern Japan have received preliminary approval to restart, but they are unlikely to be activated this year. (1 US dollar = 102.3200 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Kentaro Hamada and Yoshifumi Takemoto; Writing by James Topham; Editing by Aaron Sheldrick and Muralikumar Anantharaman)