A satellite city of Tokyo will end its reliance on Tokyo Electric Power Co. to supply electricity to most of its large facilities from April 1.
The city government of Musashimurayama in northwestern Tokyo announced on Feb. 2 that 24 of its 27 large public amenities, including schools and public halls, would switch their electricity supplies to companies other than TEPCO from April 1.
Two of the remaining three large facilities run by the city government are already powered by other firms, leaving only one account with TEPCO, the traditional monopoly supplier in the area.
The decision is part of a growing trend among local governments in the Kanto region to diversify their electricity supplies away from TEPCO under the central government's power production and supply liberalization program.
A Musashimurayama city official said the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant had directly contributed to the decision. "(In response to the accident,) we wanted to get cheaper and more stable electricity supplies," the official said.
Under the new arrangement, the municipal government will purchase electricity for most of its facilities, except for small ones like branch offices, from companies other than TEPCO.
The annual payments to those firms is expected to total 100 million yen (about $1.3 million), about 14 million yen less than the previous bills from TEPCO.
In late January, the city, which has a population of about 70,000, invited firms to apply for supply contracts for the 24 large amenities.
Five companies, all of which are based in Tokyo, applied, but TEPCO did not. Three of the five firms--Marubeni Corp., F-Power Co. and Ennet Corp.--were shortlisted based on environmental standards for solar and wind electricity generation, and the city government signed contracts with all three.
Two other large facilities, a citizen hall and a gymnasium, have been receiving electricity from non-TEPCO suppliers since 2010. A school lunch cooking center will continue to get its electricity from TEPCO because it is cheaper than the alternatives.
Setagaya Ward, where Mayor Nobuto Hosaka took office in April 2011 calling for a nuclear-free society, became the first of the central Tokyo wards to break with TEPCO in January, when it invited bids to supply power to 111 of its facilities. The new suppliers will take over on April 1.
"Competitive bidding will lead to cost savings. If several companies supply electricity, the entire supply will be stabilized," a Setagaya official said.
Setagaya's population of about 880,000 residents is the largest of the 23 wards in central Tokyo, and the 111 facilities account for only about 10 percent of its amenities. However, they include large users of electricity.
The bidding, to be held in late February, will be restricted to companies meeting environmental standards set by the ward government. Currently, most Setagaya buildings are supplied by TEPCO, with the exception of some elementary schools that use electricity generated in garbage incineration units.
(This article was compiled from reports by Daisuke Shimizu and Takashi Hirashima.)
- « Prev
- Next »