TOKYO, March 28 Tokyo Electric Power Company
Holdings (Tepco) and Chubu Electric Power Co
said on Tuesday they had signed an agreement to integrate their
fossil fuel power plants under their JERA Co joint venture.
The biggest and third-biggest of Japan's regional power
utilities aim to combine the businesses in April-September 2019
to form a company that will oversee 68 gigawatts of capacity and
account for nearly half the country's domestic power generation.
The agreement is the last of a three-step plan for JERA,
which will oversee a global resource chain from upstream
investment, procurement and trading to power generation.
The two firms in 2015 created JERA, which now handles all of
Tepco's and Chubu's upstream energy and fuel procurement
business and is the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG)
buyer with annual purchase of around 40 million tonnes.
Tepco and Chubu Electric were to decide by around now,
according to a timetable set up in 2015, on whether to integrate
all their fossil fuel power plants.
One of the sticking points for the integration of JERA was
that Tepco was essentially nationalised after the Fukushima
nuclear disaster in 2011.
Tepco is to pay the majority of a 21.5 trillion yen ($194
billion) cost for compensation, decontamination and
decommissioning, which raised worries that it may not be able to
allocate necessary funds for JERA's growth plans.
Chubu Electric President Satoru Katsuno told a news
conference that Tepco's new business plan released on March 22
assured Tepco's autonomy in its fossil fuels businesses, which
he thinks shuts out the risks related to Tepco's nuclear
($1 = 110.6700 yen)
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Tom Hogue)