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電力制度改革 安定供給の実現を大前提に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 13, 2013)
Power industry reform must ensure stable power supply
電力制度改革 安定供給の実現を大前提に(2月11日付・読売社説)

Reform of electric power systems must contribute to the achievement of a cheap and stable supply of electricity.
 電力制度改革は、安価で安定した電力供給の実現に資するものでなければならない。

The government should carefully proceed with reform of the power industry by fully considering its effectiveness and side effects.
 政府は効果と副作用にしっかり目配りし、慎重に改革を進めるべきだ。

An Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry panel of experts has compiled a draft plan for reform of power systems. It proposes full liberalization of retail sales of electric power by 2016 and the separation of power generation business and power transmission and distribution business in five to seven years by requiring power companies to set up separate group companies for those businesses.
 経済産業省の有識者会議が、電力システムの改革案をまとめた。3年後の2016年に電力の小売りを全面自由化し、5~7年後には、電力会社の発電部門と送配電部門を分社化する「発送電分離」を実現させるという。

In the wake of power shortages after the Great East Japan Earthquake and increases in electricity charges implemented by Tokyo Electric Power Co., users have become increasingly discontent with the current regional monopolies held by utilities, under which users cannot freely choose which power company to use.
 東日本大震災後の電力不足や、東京電力による料金値上げをきっかけに、電力会社を自由に選べない「地域独占」に対する利用者の不満は高まっている。

We understand the aim of the reform plan to widen the range of options for users by facilitating new entries into the markets and increasing competition among power companies.
 新規事業者の参入や電力会社間の競争を促進し、利用者の選択肢を広げる狙いは理解できる。

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Many expecting lower rates

Many people probably expect lower electricity charges as a result of competition in liberalized markets. But there are many problems associated with hasty reform.
 自由化による競争で電気料金が下がるのでないかと期待する人は多いだろう。しかし、性急な制度改革には問題が多い。

As for contracts with companies and other large-lot users, retail sales and electricity charges have already been liberalized. Despite this, the share of newcomers in sales stands at somewhere between a mere 3 percent and 4 percent. Indeed, major power companies enjoy powerful monopolies.
 企業向けなどの大口契約は、電力の小売りや料金がすでに自由化されている。にもかかわらず、新規事業者の販売シェア(占有率)は3%台にとどまる。大手電力会社による独占のカベは厚い。

If the markets were fully liberalized under these circumstances, "unregulated monopolies" may undermine any benefits to users and instead increase electricity charges. We call for further innovative efforts to create an environment to allow newcomers to easily enter the markets.
 こうした状況で全面自由化すると、「規制なき独占」が利用者の利益を損ないかねず、むしろ料金が上がる恐れがある。新規参入しやすい環境の整備について、さらなる工夫が求められる。

It also is necessary to consider the current electric power shortage, with only two of the nation's 50 nuclear reactors operating. The shortage should be quickly solved through such measures as restarting nuclear reactors whose safety is confirmed.
 全国50基の原子力発電所のうち稼働中は2基という電力不足の現状も踏まえる必要がある。安全を確認できた原発の再稼働などで、電力不足の解消を急ぎたい。

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Adjusting power supply difficult

Meanwhile, separating power generation and transmission businesses would make it more difficult to fine-tune the amount of power generated in line with demand, compared to the current combined system for power generation and transmission. And if competition intensifies, business operators may hesitate to make necessary investments in facilities and equipment by placing priority on cutting costs.
 一方、発送電を分離すると、現在の一貫供給体制に比べ、電力需要の変動に応じて発電量をきめ細かく調整することが難しくなる。競争が激化すればコスト削減が優先され、必要な設備投資が抑制される可能性も出てくる。

Large-scale blackouts have taken place in other countries due to a lack of cooperation between power generation and transmission businesses or curbed investment. Implementing reforms before ensuring a vitally important stable power supply would truly be putting the cart before the horse.
 海外では、発電と送電の連携不足や投資抑制が原因で、大規模停電を起こした例がある。電力制度改革によって肝心の電力供給が不安定になったのでは、まさに本末転倒と言えよう。

It will be essential to update power infrastructure, including power plants and transmission grids, in a well-planned manner, and establish systems to maintain it. The government should carefully design systems in its reform to prevent adverse effects from occurring.
 発電所や送電網などの電力インフラ(基盤)を計画的に整備し、維持・管理する体制作りが欠かせまい。政府は弊害の防止に向け、綿密に制度設計すべきである。

During the process of shaping the reform plan, unexpected issues not currently in the spotlight are likely to emerge.
 改革を具体化する段階で、現時点では顕在化していない新たな課題も出てくるはずだ。

It is important to flexibly review the draft road map produced by the panel of experts depending on circumstances by considering the timing of implementation of the reform plan as merely rough targets at this time.
 有識者会議が示した改革の実施時期はあくまで現時点の目安ととらえ、状況の変化に応じて工程を柔軟に見直すことが大切だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 11, 2013)
(2013年2月11日01時12分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2013-02-14 06:48 | 英字新聞

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