April 23, 2014 2:34 am JST

Chubu Electric seen turning profitable after 3 years of red ink

NAGOYA -- Chubu Electric Power Co. is on track to generate 10 billion yen ($96.4 million) or so in net profit this fiscal year as rate hikes and cost-cutting efforts help reverse its money-losing streak.  

     The Japanese utility, which likely sustained a 75 billion yen loss for the year ended March 31, will swing into the black for the first time in four years.

     With its Hamaoka nuclear power station in Shizuoka Prefecture offline, Chubu Electric has been hurt by higher fuel costs for operating fossil-fuel facilities.

     Concerned that "four straight years of losses would affect fundraising," in the words of President Akihisa Mizuno, the company applied for household rate hikes for its service area in central Japan, with a 3.77% hike taking effect May 1. It will also work to reduce fuel and facility maintenance costs further.