- A Week in Smart Metering

Japan's plans to liberalise its electricity system will make an interesting case study.
Published: Wed 12 Aug 2015

Japan will continue to make an interesting case study in the years up to 2020 as it unbundles a traditional utility-led model to liberalise its electricity system, writes Rose Bundock, digital editor of Metering & Smart Energy International, the sister portal to Engerati.

From this month, new entrants have the chance to register for a slice of the retail electricity market, valued at ¥8.1 trillion (US$65 billion).

All players have between now and April 2016, when restrictions on which entities can sell electricity are lifted, to compile rate and service plans.

While consumers will need regulations to protect them from unclear marketing of deals, this appears to be a genuine move in favour of the end user.

Necessity is also proving to be the mother of invention. Traditional utility businesses such as major player Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) is looking to bundle electricity with other services.

Tepco is in talks with SoftBank and Tokai Holdings - a city gas supplier for the Tokai region - to offer a discount plan for customers spanning electricity, mobile phone and gas services.

Other major utilities KEPCO and Chubu Electric Power Comany are also considering tie-ups with communications providers.

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