Japan’s 10 major electric power companies all posted net profits for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster thanks to sharply lower fuel costs.
In the 2015 fiscal year, which ended on March 31, Chubu Electric Power and Tohoku Electric Power logged record net profits, while Kansai Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power swung back into the black.
All but two of the 10 power companies saw their revenues shrink. But slumping revenues were more than offset by declining crude oil prices, which dented the 10 power firms’ fuel costs by 40% to 4.5 trillion yen (US$42 billion).
Before the Fukushima disaster, Japan had 54 nuclear reactors, which supplied about 30% of the country’s electricity needs. There are currently 42 operable reactors in Japan, but all but two of them remain shut because of safety concerns.
The Japanese power industry has significantly boosted generation at thermal power plants (TPPs), especially LNG-fired ones, to make up for lost output at nuclear power plants (NPPs).
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the Japanese industry leader and operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 NPP, posted a net profit of 140 billion yen (US$1.3 billion) in fiscal 2015, down 68% from fiscal 2014.
Second-ranked Kansai Electric Power also posted a net profit of 140 billion yen (US$1.3 billion) in fiscal 2015, compared with a net loss of 148 billion yen (US$1.39 billion) in fiscal 2014.
Third-ranked Chubu Electric Power posted a record net profit of 169 billion yen (US$1.6 billion) in fiscal 2015, up 337% on fiscal 2014.
Tohoku Electric Power’s net profit came to a record high of 97.3 billion yen (US$914 million), up 27% on fiscal 2014. Kyushu Electric Power’s net profit stood at 73.4 billion yen (US$689 million), compared with a net loss of 114 billion yen (US$1 billion) in fiscal 2014.