Power Companies Suffer From Higher Fuel Costs

Power companies suffer from higher fuel costsJapanese power utilities are losing money by having to pay more for the fuel used in operating their thermal power plants.

All of Japan's nuclear power plants-- except one plant on the Japan Sea coast-- are off-line following the accident in Fukushima in 2011.

Nine Japanese power companies posted combined fuel cost of 7 trillion yen, or about 70 billion dollars, in the business year that ended in March. This is about double what they paid 2 years ago.

Due to the increased fuel cost, 4 companies, including Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric, posted their largest-ever losses in the business year ended in March.

Hokuriku Electric was the only utility that did not post losses.

Some utilities have decided to raise electric bills to cover their losses.

Experts say a restart of operations at one nuclear plant would slash fuel costs by as much as 60 to 100 million dollars per month.

Power company officials say they want to resume operations as soon as possible to improve their finances and to ensure stable power supplies.