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電力全面自由化 効果と副作用を冷静に考えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 23, 2012)
Think carefully before liberalizing power business
電力全面自由化 効果と副作用を冷静に考えよ(5月22日付・読売社説)

The intended effects and the possible side effects that would be brought about through full liberalization of the electricity retail business must be carefully considered.
 電力小売りの全面自由化がもたらす効果と副作用を、慎重に見極める必要がある。

An expert panel of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has reached a broad agreement to liberalize the electricity retail business, including supplies to households.
 経済産業省の専門家委員会が、家庭向けを含め電力小売りを全面的に自由化する方向で大筋一致した。

The liberalization plan is aimed at encouraging the participation of new companies in the business to increase competition and lower utility rates. The plan also calls for abolishing the current system under which utility charges are decided by adding certain levels of profits to the personnel and fuel costs of power companies.
 電力事業への新規参入を促して競争原理を働かせ、電気料金を下げるのが狙いだろう。電力会社の人件費や燃料費に一定の利益を上乗せして電気料金を決める「総括原価方式」も撤廃する。

The government plans to submit a bill to the ordinary Diet session next year to revise the Electricity Business Law to fully liberalize the utility retail business as early as fiscal 2015.
 政府は、来年の通常国会に電気事業法改正案を提出し、2015年度にも実現したい考えだ。

Behind this move is the government's and the public's distrust in power companies that have neglected necessary corporate efforts, while remaining dependent on the current system that allows them to monopolize their respective service areas.
 背景には、「地域独占」に甘えて企業努力を怠ってきた電力会社への不信がある。

In connection with its plan to raise utility charges, an executive of Tokyo Electric Power Co. said, "It's our [vested] right to raise the rates." This insensitive statement drew harsh criticism.
東京電力の値上げ問題では、「値上げは権利だ」とする経営陣の無神経な発言が強い批判も招いた。

All power companies must realize that such a public outcry is the driving force behind the effort to liberalize utility rates.
 厳しい世論が自由化への動きを後押ししていることを、電力各社は自覚すべきだ。

But what effect total liberalization will have remains to be seen. In the domestic electricity market, liberalization of retail sales to large-lot users began in 2000. Liberalization has been expanded to users with a contracted electricity volume of 50 kilowatts or more, including small and midsize factories.
 ただし、全面自由化の効果は不透明だ。国内電力市場では2000年から、大口契約の小売り自由化が始まった。自由化対象は中小工場など契約電力50キロ・ワット以上の利用者まで広がった。

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Few new participants

Under this system, users are allowed in principle to freely select their power suppliers and negotiate with power companies on rates. But the amount of electricity generated by new participants in the market is between 3 percent and 4 percent of the total. Existing power companies dominate the business in terms of capital and equipment.
 発電事業者を自由に選べて、料金も交渉できる建前だが、実際には新規参入組の発電量は全体の3%台に過ぎない。既存の電力会社が資本や設備で圧倒的な存在である状況に変わりはない。

If the power retail business is fully liberalized while leaving a situation in which there is no real competition, we fear the monopoly the power companies enjoy will allow them to raise power charges at will.
 実質的な競争のないまま電力小売りが全面自由化されれば、強大な電力会社が「規制なき独占」で野放しとなり、かえって値上げをしやすくなりはしないか。

It is not easy to realize a sound electricity market in which a variety of companies compete freely. To help encourage new participation in the market, a plan is emerging to reexamine the current system.
 多様な事業者が競う健全な電力市場を実現するのは、容易なことではない。

The plan calls for establishing a nationwide independent organization to manage power transmission between power companies rather than have utilities undertake both generation and transmission of power.
新規参入を促すため、電力会社による発電・送電の一貫体制を改め、送電部門だけを担う独立機関を作る構想もある。

However, some people warn that if transmission is separated from power generation it will become difficult to supply electricity flexibly in response to changes in demand.
 だが、発送電分離は、電力需要に応じたきめ細かな供給を難しくするマイナス面も指摘される。

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Stable supplies vital

Major blackouts have occurred in Europe, the United States and South Korea partly due to the separation of power generation and transmission. The government must investigate these overseas cases thoroughly before deciding to separate generation from transmission.
 実際に欧米や韓国では、発送電分離が一因とされる大停電が起きた。海外事例を十分検証し、導入の是非を判断すべきだ。

In the aftermath of the disaster at TEPCO's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, no nuclear reactors have been restarted, causing a power supply shortage. If the electricity retail business is liberalized at a time when there is a supply shortage, power rates are almost certain to soar. A stable power supply must be in place before liberalization is implemented.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故後、全国の原発は再稼働できず、電力不足に陥っている。供給不足の中で自由化すれば、電気料金は上がる可能性が高い。自由化よりも、電力安定供給の回復を優先させなければならない。

Another concern is whether liberalization will lead to supply cuts and rate spikes on remote islands and in depopulated areas, where power transmission costs are high. Calm discussions are needed before resorting to spur-of-the-moment liberalization.
 送電コストの高い離島や過疎地への電力供給打ち切りや料金高騰も懸念される。一時のムードで全面自由化に走らず、冷静に議論することが求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 22, 2012)
(2012年5月22日01時20分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-05-24 08:12 | 英字新聞

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