Tohoku Electric seeks 32.9% hike in household bill

Tohoku Electric Power Co. applied to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Nov. 24 for an average 32.94% increase in the "regulated charges" for ordinary households, seeking to put them into effect on April 1 next year. The rate hike plan, subject to approval by the ministry, was the first announced by a major utility at a time when the country's power suppliers have experienced sharp increases in fuel costs. The "regulated charges" require approval from national authorities and are determined outside the framework of the "free charges" introduced after electricity rates for household use were liberalized in 2016. Tohoku Electric last raised regulated rates in September 2013 when its profitability worsened in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The rate hike in the company's latest plan is the largest since the beginning of the Heisei period in 1989. (Translated by Kyodo News)