Japan Atomic Power posts profits despite plunge in electricity sold

May 26, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Japan Atomic Power Co. reported 8.9 billion yen ($112 million) in operating profits for fiscal 2011, despite a 94-percent plunge in the volume of electricity it sold to regional utilities.

The profits were down 27.8 percent from a year earlier.

The Tokyo-based company generates electricity at its two nuclear power plants--the Tokai No. 2 plant in Ibaraki Prefecture and the Tsuruga plant in Fukui Prefecture—and supplies it to five utilities, including Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co., which were seriously affected by last year’s quake and tsunami.

The average operation rate of the three reactors at the two nuclear plants was only 4.6 percent, according to the Japan Atomic Power’s financial reports for the year ending in March 2012, released on May 25.

The total volume of electricity it supplied to the utilities fell year on year from 16.1 billion kilowatt hours to 1 billion kilowatt hours.

But the drop in sales was only 17 percent because a large portion of Japan Atomic Power’s sales contracts involve a fixed charge system, which allows the company to receive the same payment as agreed upon in advance, regardless of the volume actually sold.

All five utilities with the exception of Hokuriku Electric Power Co. posted operating losses due to ballooning fuel costs to activate their thermal power plants after their reactors were taken offline for safety inspections following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture last year.

They paid a combined 145.1 billion yen to Japan Atomic Power in fiscal 2011.

TEPCO, operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and the largest shareholder of Japan Atomic Power, with a 28-percent stake, is trying to cover its losses by increasing electricity rates.

TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, who has been at the center of various investigations into the nuclear disaster, is scheduled to resign at the utility’s general shareholders meeting in late June.

But he is expected to be reappointed as a part-time director on Japan Atomic Power’s board at the company’s general shareholders meeting on June 29 and resume receiving monthly compensation of 100,000 yen starting from July.

“I decided to receive remuneration to fulfill my responsibility as a director,” Katsumata was quoted as saying.

Katsumata offered to return 1.8 million yen in annual compensation when he accepted the post at Japan Atomic Power on June 30 last year.

It is a longtime practice for a TEPCO chairman to assume the post of director at Japan Atomic Power.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Tsunehisa Katsumata, who will resign as chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co., will stay on as a part-time director at Japan Atomic Power Co. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Tsunehisa Katsumata, who will resign as chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co., will stay on as a part-time director at Japan Atomic Power Co. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Tsunehisa Katsumata, who will resign as chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co., will stay on as a part-time director at Japan Atomic Power Co. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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