TEPCO Issues Empty Threat Over Nuclear Plant Shutdowns

TEPCO issued the threat of a rate hike if they were not allowed to restart their reactors at Kashiwazaki Kariwa. In one article TEPCO president Hirose appears to be claiming there is no other option but a rate increase due to all of their nuclear plants being shut down. But Yahoo News points out that TEPCO has turned a profit the last couple of years. Yahoo also reports that there is a sort of plan B that doesn’t include a rate hike. TEPCO’s own financial forecast has them expected to turn a profit in 2016. Currently the governor of Niigata has been in opposition of a restart of TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant. NRA has also not put BWR reactor plants (what TEPCO owns) high on their priority list of reactors to inspect for restart. The priority has been given to new PWR reactor plants under the assumption that they may be more likely to pass new safety rules.

Making this threat by TEPCO to consumers even more bizarre is this statement by Hirose in the same week about a grand plan to expand TEPCO into new power markets. TEPCO wants to sell electricity as package deals with phone service. They also want to expand into selling gas as part of a package for purchasing electricity in these new markets. TEPCO’s key selling point to try to convince consumers to give their business to what is probably the most hated company in Japan would be some sort of discount on their phone bill for buying power from them. Hirose didn’t mention if his rate hike threats would include the consumers TEPCO wants to entice into becoming their future customers.

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