Johnan Shinkin Bank is doing its best to lessen the nation's reliance on nuclear energy.
As of January, it will stop buying electricity from Tokyo Electric Power Co. for most of its branches.
The bank plans to purchase electricity generated by so-called power producer and supplier (PPS) companies that mainly use natural gas as fuel, bank officials said Dec. 2.
They said TEPCO would be able to supply electricity generated by non-nuclear means if the burden on the utility was less.
Officials are also encouraging bank customers to consider lowering their reliance on TEPCO.
Johnan Shinkin has signed a contract with Ennet Corp., which was established through capital provided by NTT Facilities Inc., Tokyo Gas Co. and Osaka Gas Co.
The electricity that will be used to power 77 of Johnan Shinkin's 85 branches will be supplied from thermal and wind power plants operated by Ennet.
Last year, the bank used enough electricity to power 2,000 households. If Ennet supplies the same amount this year, the total electricity bill will be 5.5 percent cheaper, according to bank officials.
While other enterprises and local governments have switched to PPS entities to cut costs, it is rare for a company to make the switch specifically to stop relying on nuclear energy.
Tsuyoshi Yoshiwara, the president of the bank, said: "If lots of businesses switched to PPS companies, TEPCO would be able to supply electricity even if it stopped its nuclear plants. I want to increase the use of PPS companies by lobbying our customers."
The bank announced that it would be moving away from nuclear energy in April, after the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. It cut electricity consumption by 30 percent over the previous year at all its branches until September, and also provided special services, such as preferential interest rates for savings accounts and loans for customers who installed solar panels.
There are 47 PPS companies operating in Japan. They are mainly gas, electricity equipment and trading companies that generate their own electricity.
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