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» Businesses and households shouldering the rising electricity prices caused by nuclear disaster

Businesses and households in Japan have been forced to shoulder greater financial burdens since the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant as the shutdown of all the country’s nuclear reactors and the rising costs of dealing with the atomic disaster have pushed up electricity prices.

Following the shutdown of the nuclear reactors, utility firms in the country have been operating their thermal power plants at full capacity, resulting in an increase in imports of fossil fuel such as liquefied natural gas (LNG). Japan’s imports of fossil fuel stood at 7.1 trillion yen in 2013 — double the pre-disaster level in 2010 — due in part to a devaluation of the yen and the rising prices of natural resources. The costs of responding to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, including those for decommissioning the Fukushima nuclear plant, paying compensation and conducting decontamination work, are likely to increase to 11 trillion yen as of now.

Most of the sharp rises in the costs for fuel and handling of the nuclear disaster are to be added to electricity bills. Six power firms, including TEPCO have already raised electricity charges, and Chubu Electric Power Co. is applying for government permission to raise electricity prices. The average household is expected to spend 7,476 yen in April 2014 — the average monthly electricity rate charged by nine utility firms across the country (except for the power firm in Okinawa Prefecture) — a rise of slightly less than 20 percent from the pre-disaster level. Power demand dropped about five percent from the pre-disaster level on the backdrop of not only well-established energy-saving efforts but also from cost-cutting efforts among households and corporations.

<Media Report>
Fukushima nuclear disaster taking toll on corporate and family finances (Mainichi Newspaper)

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