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Japan's TEPCO posts $9.76 bn full-year net loss

15 may 2012, 11:31
President of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Naomi Hirose. ©AFP
President of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Naomi Hirose. ©AFP
TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Japan's northeast coast, on Monday posted a bigger-than-expected loss of $9.67 billion in the year to March, AFP reports.

Tokyo Electric Power said its 781-billion-yen net loss came in a year in which it was hit with massive costs to deal with reactor meltdowns, as well as increased imports of fossil fuels to make up for a nuclear power shortfall.

The net loss was worse than a previous prediction for a 708.0 billion yen shortfall and reflects an increase in projected compensation payouts to those affected by the world's worst atomic disaster in a generation.

Revenue came in at 5.35 trillion yen, down from 5.37 trillion yen a year earlier, while the company also said it expected to lose 100 billion yen in the fiscal year through March 2013.

Sales in the current period were expected to rise to 6.0 trillion yen on an expected pickup of the economy, it added.

TEPCO's earnings come less than a week after Japan's government confirmed it will take a controlling stake in the firm, effectively nationalising one of the world's largest utilities.

Tokyo will inject one trillion yen as part of a 10-year restructuring aimed at preventing the vast regional power monopoly from going bankrupt, a plan it said would see TEPCO come under "temporary state control."

On Monday, the firm's president Toshio Nishizawa said fuel costs are likely to jump this year after Japan shut down the nuclear reactors that once supplied about one-third of its electricity, following last year's nuclear crisis.

"This increase in fuel cost is based on an assumption that we will have no nuclear power in the year," Nishizawa said.

TEPCO said the amount of electricity it sold fell 8.6 percent as clients ushered in both mandatory and voluntary energy saving measures in the summer when demand peaked.

As the sole provider of electricity to Tokyo and a vast surrounding region in eastern Japan, TEPCO is responsible for maintaining a stable power supply to its millions of customers.

But it is staring at an enormous bill with decommissioning of four crippled reactors and the clean up of the surrounding area expected to take decades.

With public distrust in nuclear energy running high, Japan's entire pool of atomic reactors are offline, leaving TEPCO and fellow utilities with no choice but to fire up expensive fossil-fuel-powered plants.

The giant utility tried to reign in costs by chopping salaries and reducing its procurement costs, but it faced skyrocketing fuel expenses to power old thermal power plants.

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