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TEPCO must reform but how and with whom?

November 19, 2016

Panel increasingly favors drastic Tepco reforms




A panel discussing reforms for Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. is increasingly seeing a need for the utility to merge its nuclear and power grid operations with those of other companies, the chairman of the panel has said.

The panel commissioned by the industry ministry has been discussing how Tepco should streamline operations as a way to raise money to finance the decommissioning of its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The view is spreading that tie-ups are not enough and that Tepco should pursue integration with other firms for some operations, Kunio Ito, chairman of the panel and professor at Hitotsubashi University, told a news conference Friday after the panel’s meeting.

One member, citing a joint thermal power company between Tepco and Chubu Electric Power Co. as an example, said Tepco should explore integration for power grid operations as well, according to the panel’s secretariat and other sources.

On nuclear power operations, another member said there are several possible options, including forming a company to run all plants in the country or one company each for the east and west of the country, according to the sources.

But Tepco is highly likely to face problems finding partners for business integration because they may be forced to shoulder part of the burden of funding the decommissioning of the Fukushima plant and compensating those affected by its triple core meltdown in March 2011, sources familiar with the matter said.

The electricity industry is not considering any plan for nuclear power business integration, Satoru Katsuno, chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, told a news conference.


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