Tepco to revise power prices for industry, factoring in nuclear restart

A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) logo is seen on a uniform of an employee at the company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima, Japan, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool

TOKYO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) (9501.T) said on Friday it will revise its pricing for high-voltage industry customers next year to reflect soaring costs, but will take into account the assumed restart of the No.7 unit of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa told a news conference of the new pricing policy, including the impact of an assumed restart, although Japan's nuclear regulator is continuing inspections after barring Tepco, operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, from restarting its only operable atomic power station last year due to safety breaches.

"We plan to revise the pricing scheme next business year as we can't reflect soaring power procurement cost in the electricity price," Kobayakawa said.

"But we are factoring in that the No.7 unit will be 75% operational next year, or operating nine months out of 12, in calculating the new electricity price to reduce the burden on customers," he said, adding that the company itself is not forecasting the unit's resumption next year.

"We do hope to restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa as soon as possible, but we can't say when it will happen," he said.

Tepco plans to announce details of the new price scheme for industry customers by the end of this month.

If it operated for nine months of the year it would cut the company's annual costs by about 200 billion yen ($1.4 billion), Kobayakawa said.

Tepco had been hoping to restart the world's biggest atomic power plant, with capacity of 8,212 megawatts, in a quest to slash the utility's operating costs.

But it drew criticism last year when failings at the plant came to light, including security breaches that led to an unauthorised staff member accessing sensitive areas of the plant.

Japan's industry minister said at the time the plant would not be restarted any time soon.

However, as energy costs soar across the world, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently said Japan will restart more idled nuclear plants and look at developing next-generation reactors, setting the stage for a major policy shift on nuclear energy a decade after the Fukushima disaster. read more

($1 = 143.1700 yen)

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi, Editing by Louise Heavens

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