After deciding on a place to live, one of the necessary things you need to do next is signing an electricity contract.
By contracting with a power company, you can start your living as soon as moving into the new flat.
Let’s start with how to choose a suitable Power company.
Select a Power company
Firstly, you have to decide which power company to sign a contract with.
Previously, you could only sign contracts with local providers (for example, Tokyo Electric Power in Tokyo), but with the liberalization of electric power in April 2016, that restriction has been lifted. It’s a welcome change for users, as they now can compare rates and services between companies.
In case you are confused due to the language barrier, we recommended that you should choose TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) which has English pages to be the easiest to understand for foreigners.
On the other hand, in the Kansai region, many people will have a contract with Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), and in the Chubu region will be Chubu Electric Power Company.
It would be nice to ask your friends and colleagues in Japan which power company they use. If you use the same power company, you should be able to consult about payments and contracts when you are in trouble.
Calculation method of electricity fee
Many plans of Power companies calculate electricity rates as follows:
「Basic Rate + Energy Amount Rate + Fuel Cost Adjustment Charge + Renewable Energy Power Promotion Surcharge」
The explanation of each part as below:
|Basic Rate||A fixed fee that corresponds to your demand charge and varies according to your contract ampere|
|Energy Amount Rate||The amount that is calculated according to the amount of actually used power|
|Fuel Cost Adjustment Charge||The amount that utilities apply on bills based on the varying price of fuel or coal. There are both positive and negative adjustments.|
|Renewable Energy Power Promotion Surcharge||A levy used for the promotion of renewable energy production|
It is quite difficult to calculate firmly. But if you live alone, it may cost you about 2,000 to 3,000 yen a month in spring or autumn, and in the peak seasons like summer and winter your monthly bill will be around 10,000 yen per month to use the air conditioner.
Besides, depending on the electric power company, you might have a chance to get a small discount on charges with payment by account transfer. For example, you can get a discount of 55 yen per month with Tokyo Electric Power, Kansai Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power.
Steps of making contract
Once you pick up a suitable electric power company to sign a contract, you should contact that company 2 to 3 days before you enter your new residence for instructions or apply online on their homepage.
Example of TEPCO:
First, you can access their online application form written in English from the link below:
Next, you need to fill in the required information in the online application. Contact information needed to open the electricity contract includes Address of residence (住所), Name of the contractor (契約者の名前), Date of Start Service (電気開通日), Contact phone number (連絡先), Payment method (支払方法). Please note that the “Address” and “Name of the contractor” need to match the information printed on the residence card.
If you require assistance by phone, you can find out the phone number of the regional customer centre from the following.
If you wish to have your electricity bill deducted automatically from your bank account, TEPCO will send a request form to fill out your bank information to the address you registered on the contract. Since this form is mostly written in Japanese, it’s better to find someone who understands Japanese to help you fill in the correct information before submitting the application.
When making a contract with a power company, you may be wondering which amperage (shorted to A) is best to choose. A lower amperage contract will save you a bit of electricity, but you won’t be able to use more than that contracted amperage. In other words, it is the maximum power you can use when using several devices simultaneously.
As a guide, 30A is a good choice for living alone. In the case of 20A, if you use multiple home appliances at the same time, the circuit breaker turns on and you may feel inconvenience.
If you are a family, it is better to choose 40A or higher amperage.
For reference, here is a general guideline for the major home appliances.
|Product||General amps guide|
|Air conditional||About 5~7A|
|Television||2A for the LCD, 5A for plasma type|
|Refrigerator||About 2.5A for the size of 450L|
|Washing machine||About 3A|
|Microwave||About 15A for the size of 30L|
If the power consumption of your home appliances shown in W (watts), just convert it to ampere by dividing the wattage by 100 V (volts) and you get the result. For home appliances with 500W power consumption, the standard is 5A.
For example, if you use a dryer and microwave oven at the same time, it will approach 30A by itself. When contracting with a low amperage, it is necessary to consider not to use home appliances with high power consumption at the same time.
Please refer to it when choosing the amperage.
To actually start using electricity, you have to raise the switches of breaker inside the property.
Since it’s the thing that any house equipped with, let’s check where it is at the timing of moving in.
Unlikely event, the breaker has been dropped by using multiple home appliances at the same time, let’s use this operation panel to raise the breaker again.
Payment method of electricity charges
There are many power companies carry out the payment by sending money transfer form. When it arrives, simply take your bill to your chosen payment location (bank, post office, convenience store), and make the payment according to their accepted payment means.
TEPCO also supports other payment methods such as credit cards or automatically account withdraw, you can access the following URL for further explanations in English. Please note that a separate application is required.
In the case of payment by transfer form, the invoice will be as following:
1. Billing monthPayment Method and How to Change your Payment Method | TEPCO
2. Amount billed
3. Consumption tax, etc.
4. Name of person who pays the electricity bill
5. Telephone number of TEPCO customer center
6. Deadline for payment
When the bill arrives, please remember to check the fee detail and due date, and make payment as soon as possible.
Electric is the needed service to use right after moving in. So it’s essential to complete the electrical contract before moving in as soon as possible.
It’s only troublesome for the first time of registration and the contract cancellation when leaving. So having someone good at Japanese to support is the right way you should think about.