Seven of Japan's 10 major utilities finished their first quarter with a net loss, totaling nearly 190 billion yen ($1.45 billion), according to their earnings reports, as soaring fuel prices on the back of Russia's invasion of Ukraine made thermal power generation more expensive.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. logged the biggest loss among the region-based utilities, as its net loss expanded to 67.10 billion yen for the three months ended June from 3.03 billion yen a year earlier, it said Tuesday.
The widened loss came as the company was forced to pay more for coal and liquefied natural gas for its fossil-based power generation, according to the utility.
"We have a strong sense of crisis," Executive Vice President Hiroyuki Yamaguchi said at a press conference. "Our earnings could deteriorate further if the energy cost keeps rising."
Meanwhile, the company's sales rose 50.7 percent to 1.48 trillion yen for the April-June period as the higher cost of energy was partly passed onto customers.
The utility, also known as TEPCO, did not disclose its earnings forecast for the current business year through March, citing uncertain energy market conditions due to the war in Ukraine.
Kyushu Electric Power Co., the operator serving the southwestern main island of Kyushu, sunk into the red for the quarter for the first time in four years, with its net loss totaling 34.8 billion yen, the second-biggest among the utilities. Lower operating rates for its nuclear power plants also contributed to the weaker results, it said.
Tohoku Electric Power Co., a utility serving northeastern Japan, posted a net loss of 31.2 billion yen for the three months as a massive earthquake that hit the area in March caused some of its fossil fuel units to halt, increasing the company's outlay on alternative power supply.
Four other regional utilities -- Chugoku Electric Power Co., Kansai Electric Power Co., Hokuriku Electric Power Co. and Okinawa Electric Power Co. -- also suffered a net loss, while Chubu Electric Power Co. saw its profit fall by nearly 40 percent.
In contrast, Shikoku Electric Power Co. returned to profit for the quarter after a loss last year as the No. 3 reactor of its Ikata nuclear power plant resumed operations in January. Hokkaido Electric Power Co. also posted an increased profit.
TEPCO, operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, announced Tuesday it will consider raising prices for rate plans for large-scale business users such as shopping centers and factories to absorb soaring energy prices.
The possible change will affect up to about 170,000 contracts, and the company plans to finalize the details of the rate hike by the end of September, it said.