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Tepco to Keep Corporate Rate Increase Below 20%, Nikkei Says

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. decided to keep an increase in electricity rates for companies to less than 20 percent, backing off from a more aggressive price rise announced earlier, the Nikkei newspaper reported.

The utility known as Tepco trimmed the rate increase because of resistances from corporate customers, Nikkei reported, without saying how it got the information. The higher rates equate to several hundred billion yen in additional annual revenue, Kyodo News reported. Tepco will announce the plan today, Nikkei said.

Tepco said its fuel costs will rise by 830 billion yen ($10.8 billion) to 2.31 trillion yen in the year ending March 2012 as it uses more thermal power plants to fill the void left by nuclear plants shut for safety checks. Only two of the company’s 17 nuclear reactors are now running after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami wrecked its Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant.

Tepco said on Dec. 22 it will raise corporate rates from April and that the size of the increase will be announced in January. About 240,000 contracts for corporate customers will be affected by the new rates, according to Tepco.

The utility then said it will seek approval from the government to raise tariffs for households “as soon as possible.” Tepco is considering increasing rates for households by 10 percent as early as this autumn, Kyodo reported.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at tinajima@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Langan at plangan@bloomberg.net

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