We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our stockholders and investors for your extremely generous support.
The consolidated operating revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019 increased due to the impact of the fuel cost adjustment system, but ordinary income decreased due to a decrease in electricity sales due to the progress of competition. In this situation, based on our dividend policy “continuing with a stable dividend”, we have paid out ¥25 per share as the interim dividends to our shareholders and paid out ¥25 as the year-end dividends of FY2019.
Three years since the full liberalization of the retail sale of electricity, as competition with our competitors is becoming tougher, our group still has no prospects on operating nuclear power stations, which is indispensable for the radical recovery of the business base and stabilization of our business, and the situation will continue to be more severe. We will continue to improve earnings and reduce deterioration in financial position by thoroughly improving business efficiency, and will work to develop and expand growth businesses that can leverage the strengths of our group.
In response to the full liberalization of the retail sale of electricity, we will provide high value-added services to meet diverse energy-related needs ranging from home to commercial, so as to go on being chosen by the customers of the Chugoku Region, which is our operating base. In addition, in order to establish a new revenue base, work on electricity sales outside the Chugoku region and power generation business overseas, and promote innovation in electricity business and creation of new businesses with new ideas that are not tied to existing concepts.
As for Shimane Nuclear Power Station, we will respond definitely to the new regulatory requirements enacted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), and will continue to engage in improving of safety as we make maximal efforts toward operation restart and start while obtaining the understanding of the local people.
As for Power Transmission and Distribution Division, we established “Chugoku Power Transmission & Distribution Company, Incorporated” as division preparation company in April 2019. We are steadily preparing for April 2020 so that we can move smoothly without impeding stable supply and efficiency.
We will be striving to be a “corporate group that people choose in the region and that grow beyond the region” in order to be able to meet our stockholders’ and investors’ expectations.
We request your continued cooperation and support into the future.
We have to go on providing the inexpensive and stable supply of electricity that underpins socioeconomic activities, and we have to restore the soundness of our corporate performance in fulfillment of our investors’ and stockholders’ expectations. We are conscious that in order to achieve those tasks, it will be essential to work at improving safety at our nuclear power station and to restart it at an early date. In order to restart this facility, I believe three things will be of major importance: we must get through the NRA’s examination, we must complete the measures required by the regulatory requirements, and we must obtain the understanding of the local people.
We applied for compliance verification of Unit 2 (comissioned 1989; 820 MW) in December 2013, and it is currently undergoing examination by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. In February 2018, the design earthquake ground motion, which serves as the standard for power station seismic design, was rated as generally appropriate by the NRA. Also, The examination concerning facilities was resumed from February 2019.
The advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) to be employed as Unit 3 at Shimane Nuclear Power Station is a plant with outstanding safety and reliability that was developed jointly by the government, manufacturers and power companies. It will be a mainspring of competitiveness for us as competition under liberalization of the electric power business unfolds. The equipment itself is already complete, and the pre-use inspections carried out ahead of fuel loading have all ended. In August 2018, we applied for verification of compliance with the new regulatory requirements. The first review meeting was held in September 2018, and we explained the outline of the application.
I cannot say anything definite about specifically when operation will restart and start. But we are moving vigorously forward with measures for enhancing safety at the site, and I take it that we are making steady headway toward operation restart and start.
The local people’s understanding will also be essential in order to restart the nuclear power station and to make continuous use of it without any unscheduled stoppages. The following statements are made in the government’s Basic Energy Plan (approved by the Cabinet in July 2018).
(a) “When the Nuclear Regulation Authority deems that the regulatory requirements are complied with, nuclear power stations will move ahead with restart.”
(b) “The national government will proactively make efforts to obtain the understanding and cooperation of the local authorities and other concerned entities/persons where the power stations are sited.”
At the same time that it is moving ahead with equipment-related efforts aimed at raising safety, Chugoku Electric is working to raise human-factor safety. It is doing this by, for example, effecting continual raising of employees’ awareness and coping skills, in ways such as implementing drills that simulate the accidents occurred by many factors like fire or disease such as earthquakes and Tsunami. By giving the local people a series of respectful explanations about these efforts, we intend to progressively dispel their anxieties concerning the safety of nuclear power generation.
Regarding dividends, our basic approach is to continue with stable dividends, and we have been implementing dividends of 50 yen per share from an overall consideration of forecasts and so forth of the mid- and long-term revenue-expenditure and financial situations, not merely of the results for a single fiscal year.
In recent years, we have set our profit and dividends as “undecided”, as it is difficult to rationally predict costs involved in electric power supply and demand, such as the cost of fuel sources, at the start of the fiscal year. However, we believe that showing earnings forecasts that appropriately reflect changes in our business environment, such as tougher competition and legal separations, is an important part of fulfilling our accountability to our shareholders and investors, and have made calculations under the assumption of no nuclear power operation during FY2019.
This non-operation is just one assumption made for calculating our revenue-expenditure. There is no change in our stance of aiming to restart operation as soon as possible under the basic premise of ensuring safety.
As things currently stand, we have sustained a considerably advanced degree of damage to our self-owned capital as a result of the protracted suspension of Shimane nuclear power generation operation, and as regards dividends up until our nuclear power generation restarts, we will be making particular decisions in each case, based on an examination of the revenue-expenditure and financial situations at the time. But we have no intention of revising our basic policy of continuing with stable dividends.
While there are fluctuations each fiscal year, we do believe that, barring any unforeseen sudden causes of revenue-expenditure deterioration such as stopping large-scale coal-fired thermal power, we can prevent any serious deficits. Restart of operations at the Shimane Nuclear Power Station remains an indispensable condition for stabilization of our business. We believe that our top priority is to focus on restarting operation of the Shimane Nuclear Power Station as soon as possible, and on achieving further efficiency improvement.
Following the full liberalization of the retail sale of electricity, numerous operators have newly entered the Chugoku Region and the competition is intense. In these circumstances, we are receiving solid approval from many customers, as may be gathered from the fact that the number of subscribers to our members-only “Gutto Zutto Club” website and new “Gutto Zutto Plan” of tariffs exceeded 950,000 respectively by the end of April 2019.
The Energia group will provide high value-added services to meet diverse energy-related needs ranging from home to commercial, so as to go on being chosen by the customers of the Chugoku Region, which is our operating base.
At the same time, so that customers can enjoy advantages from liberalization, it will be necessary for the power supply-demand situation to be stable – which will require restart of nuclear power to proceed, among other things – and for a business environment to be in place where, even under competition, nuclear power generation is utilized as an important base-load power source – on the major precondition that its safety is ensured.
In May 2016, as part of this business environment improvement and with a certain level of involvement by the government, laws were established for the purpose of stably securing funds necessary for nuclear fuel cycle operations, so that the operations could be carried out steadily and efficiently. In October 2016, the Nuclear Reprocessing Organization of Japan was established as the implementing body. The government has been reviewing the nuclear damage compensation system as well, including examining appropriate role-sharing between the government and businesses.
As for private businesses continuing to run nuclear power stations, we believe it will be indispensable to have in place an environment that gives them prospects for the future, so that they can plan and implement long-term operations. We will keep advocating that the requisite policies and measures should be devised.
In January 2016, we announced the "Energia Group Corporate Vision", which describes our profit and financial targets for the future looking towards the 2020s.
First of all, we will make an all-out effort to accommodate the examination of the Shimane Nuclear Power Station in hopes of restarting Unit 2 early and proceeding steadily toward the commissioning of state-of-the-art Unit 3.
In addition, in order to establish a new revenue base, we work on electricity sales outside the Chugoku region and power generation business overseas, and promote innovation in electricity business and creation of new businesses with new ideas that are not tied to existing concepts.
Through these efforts, we hope to achieve the profit and financial targets stated in the Corporate Vision.