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Renewable energy surcharge to be doubled

  • 2015-03-20 15:00:00
  • , Tokyo Shimbun
  • Translation

(Tokyo Shimbun: March 20, 2015 – p. 2)

 

 The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) decided on March 19 that the “surcharge” added to electricity charges for the purpose of increasing renewable energy such as solar power generation will be 1.58 yen per 1 kilowatt for FY 2015 beginning in April. If a household uses 300 kilowatts a month, the surcharge will increase by more than double from the current 225 yen to 474 yen. The new rate will apply to electricity charges to be collected starting in May.

 

 The government implemented the Feed in Tariff (FiT) system in July 2012. Under this system, electric utilities purchase renewable energy at higher prices and the costs are added to the electricity charges paid by all users as a “surcharge”.

 

 However, the government’s overly optimistic plan set the highest price for solar power generation even though it is the easiest type of power generation to launch. As a result, more companies than expected entered the business. Under the circumstances, the FiT price will be lowered in April to 29 yen (for commercial use). However, as power generation companies that already have contracts at the higher price will start generating electricity, the surcharge will actually increase.

 

 METI held a meeting of experts on March 19 entitled “New Energy Subcommittee” for increasing renewable energy. Lawyer Sen Sato, one of the subcommittee members, said: “In order to increase renewable energy, increasing the burden is unavoidable to a certain degree.” On the other hand, University of Tokyo Associate Professor Yumiko Iwafune said, “The users’ burden is becoming heavier,” calling for the implementation of countermeasures.

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