Friday, May 11, 2012

Electricity Price to go up!

Today TEPCO officially applied to the government for permission to raise house electricity prices in July by 10.28%.  Given that TEPCO has already received permission to raise prices for business and industry by 30%, it seems probable that this price rise will go ahead.  For the average household, this works out at about 480 yen extra a month.

Do I need to mention that this price rise is completely unnecessary?  TEPCO has stated that the money is needed to fund compensation for victims of the Fukushima accident, and to cover the costs of imported fossil fuels needed to cover the gap in electrical generation left by the closure of all of Japan's nuclear power plants.  However, as radiation around the Fukshima plant never hit levels that could affect human health, it is hard to see what people are being 'compensated' for.  And regarding the import of fossil fuels, there is no excuse for keeping Japan's nuclear fleet idling; all this achieves is to keep billions of dollars of infrastructure unused and thousands of people out of work.

The reason that nuclear power plants remain closed is because of significant (and misguided) public opposition.  But the reality is that, in terms of safety, nothing could be worse than leaving the nuclear power plants turned off, because the inevitable alternative, fossil fuel usage, is incredibly damaging in terms of global warming, air pollution.  Not to mention political destabilization.

It's incredibly disappointing that at time when the Japanese nation is facing such genuine and intractable problems as economic stagnation, demographic decline and political paralysis, that society is obsessing over an accident that, after all, killed or injured noone.

Electricity is an incredibly useful resource, and vital for improving living standards.  To restrict its use for no good reason seems criminal to me.  This applies to the globe as a whole as well as Japan.

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