Tepco Moves to Sell Power Nationwide Ahead of Market Reforms

May 22, 2014 12:07 am ET

May 22 (Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. is seeking to expand its electricity-sales business beyond its traditional service area as Japan’s government pursues reforms aimed at increasing competition among the nation’s power utilities.

Tepco Customer Service Corp., a unit of Japan’s biggest utility, registered today with the country’s trade ministry as a power producer and supplier, enabling it to market electricity outside the Kanto region that includes Tokyo, it said in a statement on its website.

Tokyo Electric’s move comes as the government pushes a liberalization plan that aims to lower prices by giving power- generating companies access to each other’s transmission lines.

The nationwide sales will help the utility pursue a government-approved plan to rebuild its business after the March 2011 disaster at its Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant that left it with billions of dollars in compensation and cleanup costs, it said in the statement.

“We will strive to take advantage of the latest knowledge and technology to create new value through the sale of electricity outside the Kanto region,” it said.

The company is targeting 34 billion yen ($334 million) in sales from outside the region in three years and 170 billion yen in sales in 10 years, it said.

Tokyo Electric’s steps to market electricity nationwide follow Chubu Electric Power Co.’s move into the Kanto region in August through its purchase of Diamond Power Corp., a small Tokyo-based electricity supplier.

The government in November passed the first legislation aimed at weakening the monopolies of regional power utilities by setting up an independent body to coordinate supply and demand across the nation’s electricity grids.