Posts Tagged TEPCO

Next contestant Nikkei from Japan, special subject the bleeding obvious

How much sooner would this have happened if Tepco was a genuine private company?

Tepco has not gone bankrupt simply because it is being bailed out by the government. Financial aid from the government-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund is expected to reach 3.4 trillion yen. The figure is already far higher than the 350 billion yen or so that Japan Airlines Co. received from the government and the roughly 2 trillion yen that went to Resona Holdings Inc. 8308.

In Tepco’s case, government aid will continue to grow unless the firm can plug the hole in the bucket.

Given this grim reality, what needs to be done is evident. Power rates need to go up so that Tepco can pay compensation for the nuclear accident and provide a stable supply of power. And some of its idled nuclear reactors need to be brought back online after their safety has been confirmed to curb the increase in power rates.

via 2012/03/30 05:38 – OPINION: There Are Solutions To Tepco’s Financial Woes.

The reason for my title, if you haven’t spotted it already, can be explained in this video. It’s a cultural reference to a line from the British comedy series, “Fawlty Towers” (and here for Japanese readers).



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Japan Trade Deficit Due To Special Factors, Including Quake

Tepco said earlier it will raise electricity rates for corporate customers by around 17% on average beginning in April, its first hike in more than three decades, to address soaring fuel costs following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

The rate increase will be used to help the embattled utility cover the cost of buying more fossil fuels, as many of its nuclear plants remain offline following last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The minister [of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Motohisa Furukawa, graduate of prestigious Tokyo University’s Law Faculty] also said the government aims to propose several ideas about a future energy plan by spring. “For the long term, we would think about alternative energy like solar, but in the near term, I think it will be natural gas,” he said. “We have to think about how we will rely less on nuclear power.”

via 2012/02/12 17:18 – Furukawa: Japan Trade Deficit Due To Special Factors, Including Quake.

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METI Chief Tells Tepco To Get House In Order First

Last night, there was an NHK documentary about the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. It included footage of the tsunami sweeping into the town taken by eye-witnesses, including some who were in their cars trying to escape at the time. Horrifying, and yet some miraculous escapes. In places, such as where the stream of water was forced into narrow passageways between buildings, the tsunami reached speeds of 6 m/sec.

There was also a section on TEPCO and Fukushima, with dramatic re-enactments of Kan dealing with TEPCO’s unbelievable request to abandon the Fukushima plant, and Kan’s refusal. Assuming that this account is essentially true, it seems to argue in favour of government supervision of this entity. Yet, I’m not entirely happy with the kind of power that Edano is wielding here.

TOKYO (Nikkei)–Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano on Thursday quickly dashed Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (9501) hopes of submitting a request soon to hike household power rates.

“Power providers can decide to seek approval (for an increase), but it’s my decision whether to allow it or not,” Edano said at a news conference following a cabinet meeting.

This suggests that Tepco, as the company is known, faces a steep hurdle, especially as Edano and others seek considerable restructuring at the utility as a precondition for allowing it to raise household rates.

via 2011/12/23 05:46 – METI Chief Tells Tepco To Get House In Order First.

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2011/09/02 03:49 – Vending Machines To Light Up The Night Once More

And on a brighter note:

TOKYO (Nikkei)–Lighting for some 870,000 beverage vending machines will soon be turned back on at night in areas served by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) and Tohoku Electric Power Co. (9506).

With the summer’s demand for electricity having passed its peak, the Japan Soft Drink Association concluded that its members no longer need to voluntarily reduce their energy consumption.

via 2011/09/02 03:49 – Vending Machines To Light Up The Night Once More.

The ubiquitous vending machines were one of the first things I noticed about Japan. They are everywhere, and you can find ones selling rice and eggs. Unlike vending machines in Britain, they all work!

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2011/09/01 18:46 – INTERVIEW: Tepco Making Progress In Fukushima Crisis, But Hurdles Remain -President

Dow Jones Newswires interviews Tepco prez Nishizawa. A major problem is obtaining funds.  I’m not sure what “smart grid” means. I hope “smart meters” doesn’t mean ones like these.

TOKYO (Dow Jones)–Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) is making steady progress in its efforts to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and provide compensation to those living around the crisis-hit facility, the company’s president said Thursday.

But Toshio Nishizawa said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires that the utility is still facing problems in its attempts to obtain funding through the market, and said he was unable to predict when the company would return to profitability.

Tepco suffered combined net losses of nearly Y2 trillion in the last two quarters, due to massive costs for dealing with a core meltdown at the quake-battered plant. The company is also expected to face several trillions of yen in compensation claims …

“Since we cannot issue bonds, our funding situation remains difficult,” Nishizawa said.

The president said that he wants to forge a new direction for the company, and said Tepco will “continue to invest in smart grid and smart meter” technology, even if that means cutting investment in other areas.

via 2011/09/01 18:46 – INTERVIEW: Tepco Making Progress In Fukushima Crisis, But Hurdles Remain -President.

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2011/09/02 02:00 – Tepco, Tohoku Elec To Revive Idle Fossil-Fuel Plants

Tepco and Tohoku Power companies are re-starting idled coal-fired power stations in Fukushima prefecture. There is no mention in this article of the costs or the possible effects on price. Nuclear is cheaper than coal, after all.

TOKYO Nikkei–Tokyo Electric Power Co. 9501, known as Tepco, and Tohoku Electric Power Co. 9506 plan to restart offline fossil-fuel power generators and boost their combined output capacity by 1.25 million kilowatts by the end of the year. Their jointly owned coal-fired power plant in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, has two generators, both of which have remained offline since the March 11 disaster.

… By next summer, the full 2 million kilowatts of capacity is expected to return …

At the two utilities’ jointly owned fossil-fuel plant in Nakoso, Fukushima Prefecture, one 250,000kw coal-fired generator is slated to resume operations by the end of the year after having remained idle due to the impact of the March calamity. And a oil-fired unit that has been suspended since before March will likely start generating power again next summer, adding 175,000kw.

… the government has ordered large-scale customers of Tepco and Tohoku Electric to reduce maximum power usage 15% this summer from a year earlier. By returning idled generators to service and seeking voluntary reductions in power usage, the two utilities are hoping to avoid implementing mandatory usage cuts this winter.

via 2011/09/02 02:00 – Tepco, Tohoku Elec To Revive Idle Fossil-Fuel Plants.

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Govt to allow industry to power up : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

There are, and have been, many political philosophers who have said that government intervention leads to ever-increasing intervention and eventually to tyranny. Others have pointed to the “pretence of knowledge”, the impossibility of anyone or any group of people, having enough information to be able to make the right decisions about resource allocation, in other words, managing the economy.

Still others have pointed to the “unintended consequences” of much political action. Herbert Spencer was one such: his ironic wit, combined with well supported facts, led the reader inevitably to the conclusion that the unintended consequences of much well-intended legislation were in fact only unforeseen because politicians were such ignorant twits who had failed to study even the recent history of legislation and government intervention.

What is described below sounds wonderful and a perfect example of government benevolence in action: the initial restriction, the reduced demand due to a vigorous energy-saving campaign that targeted Japanese people’s sense of solidarity, and the resulting surplus of power supply.

While this particular series of actions seems to have borne fruit, there remains the matter of the principle of government intervention in private business and the use of force or threats to enforce its intervention.

So that now a headline like the above, where the government permits industry to do this or that, does not cause any raised eyebrows.

The government on Tuesday announced it will move forward the lifting of its mandatory curb on electricity consumption for large-lot electricity users that has been in place since July 1.

The removal of the restriction will be brought forward from Sept. 22 to Friday in areas devastated by the March 11 disaster, and those in Niigata and Fukushima prefectures that were hit with torrential rain in late July.

These areas are covered by Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co.

via Govt to allow industry to power up : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri).

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Tepco’s personnel costs higher than firms in other fields, state panel says | The Japan Times Online

So now TEPCO is getting slammed for “using higher-quality materials than needed to raise the safety level of its facilities”?

Turning to capital investment, Shimokobe said the panel has to look closely into whether Tepco’s high cost structure has been maintained without careful consideration, possibly as a result of using higher-quality materials than needed to raise the safety level of its facilities.

via Tepco’s personnel costs higher than firms in other fields, state panel says | The Japan Times Online.

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Tepco tries to save face | The Japan Times Online

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Thursday defended its decision to withhold the results of its 2008 calculations that predicted tsunami higher than 10 meters could strike the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, saying it saw no point at the time in publicizing a projection based on a multitude of assumptions.

Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said the calculation was made on an “unreasonable” assumption of a massive quake that had never occurred off Fukushima striking, adding it was difficult before March 11 to comprehend the potential danger.

via Fukushima rice tests show no contamination | The Japan Times Online.

This is a little odd. I would understand it if they said, “While we always knew that there was always the possibility of a quake and tsunami of a size beyond our predictions, nevertheless, we had to draw a line somewhere as to probability; we had to weigh costs versus probability, and we made our choice – the chances of a massive tsunami higher than 10 metres were so slim (in our estimation) that preparing for such an eventuality would not be worth the costs. We now see that we were wrong about the slim chances, but a decision had to be made and we made it.”

But that’s not what they’re saying, at least according to this Kyodo article.  They’re saying ” it was difficult before March 11 to comprehend the potential danger.” In other words, they seem to be saying, “we didn’t have enough data!” This suggests a startling lack of a) imagination, and b) of how economic decisions are made.

And it’s an odd sort of defensive statement to make.

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It wasn’t our fault! It wasn’t our fault!!! – Japan utility knew of tsunami threat: government – Yahoo! News

So the blame shifting continues.  Does anyone really think this exculpates the regulatory agency?  “OK, here’s the deal: you tell us what safety procedures you think you ought to implement, and we’ll mull them over and tell you to implement them. Or maybe we’ll just skip the mulling. Save time. I hate reading, anyway.” (“Despite taking part in the Hamaoka drill, Kan admitted he didn’t understand how SPEEDI worked or how valuable the data was.” From AP Impact: Japan ignored own radiation forecasts). 

But now, of course, the regulatory body has moved to MEXT, so that will solve all the problems. There will never be any more fudging of responsibilities now. We can all sleep soundly in our beds.

TOKYO – Japan’s nuclear regulator said Wednesday that the operator of a crippled nuclear plant knew it might be hit by a far bigger tsunami than it was designed to withstand.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the operator informed it just four days before Japan’s massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami that waves exceeding 10 meters 33 feet could hit the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

The plant was only designed to withstand a tsunami about half that height.Agency officials said Wednesday they recommended that Tokyo Electric Power Co. take measures to prepare for a bigger tsunami but did not give specific instructions.

via Japan utility knew of tsunami threat: government – Yahoo! News.

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