September 20, 2008

Tokyo Electric Power May Scale Down Planned Rate Hike

Tokyo, Sept. 20 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo Electric Power Co. is considering scaling down its planned electricity rate hike at the request of the government, informed sources said Saturday.

Earlier this year, the company announced plans to raise its electricity rates in January due to surging oil prices, with monthly electricity bills at a standard household expected to rising about 800 yen from the current levels.

On Friday, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshihiro Nikai asked Japanese power suppliers to review their rate hike plans in light of the economic slowdown and a downturn in energy prices.

The government apparently does not want to see major hikes in utility charges out of consideration for an expected dissolution of the House of Representatives and a subsequent snap election, according to the sources.

Following the government's request, Tokyo Electric Power will work out specifics about the rate hike review, taking into account the oil price fall, the sources said.

Other power suppliers, including Kansai Electric Power Co. , may follow suit, the sources said.END

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