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Japan: Govt to Abolish Gas Rate Regulations in 2016
Source: the-japan-news.com
Source Date: Friday, April 04, 2014
Focus: Journals, Internet Governance
Country: Japan
Created: Apr 09, 2014

An industry ministry panel has confirmed plans to abolish regulations on gas rates so suppliers can offer various pricing options.

The panel agreed Thursday to consider a system in which the central government can monitor gas fees to prevent possible sharp rises.

Currently, gas rates for households need approval from the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry. If the regulations are abolished, flexible pricing, including discounts, will become possible.

The panel also agreed to introduce a registration system for gas suppliers, instead of the existing approval system, to encourage new companies to enter the market.

According to officials, the ministry plans to submit legislation to implement the changes to the Diet early next year.

To prevent major suppliers from keeping rates high, the ministry plans to keep some regulations on electricity rates in place for a certain period even after retail sales are liberalized as early as 2016, sources familiar with the matter said.

The ministry believes that such a situation is unlikely in the retail gas market due to competition among suppliers, the sources said.

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