July 30, 2008

Japan Gas Bills to Hit Record-High Levels in Oct.-Dec.

Tokyo, July 30 (Jiji Press)--Japan four major gas suppliers said Wednesday they will raise monthly rates for households to record levels in October-December amid soaring natural gas and crude oil prices.

According to the four firms' new rate plans, Tokyo Gas Co. will charge each standard household 5,684 yen per month during the three- month period, up 120 yen from the current level, Osaka Gas Co. 6,019 yen, up 126 yen, Toho Gas Co. 6,395 yen, up 110 yen, and Saibugas Co. 5,998 yen, up 67 yen.

All the planned rates are the highest since the current rate calculation formula was adopted in 1996.

Also on Wednesday, Chubu Electric Power Co. and Hokuriku Electric Power Co. announced their largest household rate hikes since 1996 for the final three months of the year.

Chubu Electric's monthly rate will go up 225 yen to 6,992 yen and Hokuriku Electric's 264 yen to 6,769 yen.

The rate hikes were based on energy prices in April-June, which rose 14 pct for crude oil, 8 pct for natural gas and 36 pct for coal from a year before on a yen basis.

Under the current rate adjustment system, fluctuations in raw materials and fuel prices are automatically reflected in gas and power rates under quarterly reviews.

The rates of eight other power suppliers including Tokyo Electric Power Co. will not be changed in the period, due to late notification to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Tokyo Electric Power, however, may raise its rate by 800 yen for a standard household in January if crude oil prices keep rising.END

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