Japans Electricity Market Reforms

TOKYO, Nov 27 Reuters Trading of a Japanese power market derivative offered by the European Energy Exchange EEX has surged in the six months since its launch, as overseas traders and investors pile into the worlds fourthbiggest electricity market.

The surge highlights growing overseas interest in the onceclosed sector after reforms prompted by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster gradually opened it up.

Here is a timeline of changes 1886 The sectors origins date from the formation of private firm Tokyo Electric Light Co. in the late 1800s, followed by others in the wake of the late 1860s Meiji restoration.

The period set the stage for the division of the electric power grid on the basis of two frequencies, 50 Hertz in the east, used by early generators supplied by German equipment makers and 60 Hz in the west, where generators were supplied by a predecessor of U.S. firm General Electric Co.

Japan is thus the only major industrialized nation with two grids that can only be connected through limited capacity converters.

After the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster of 2011, this quirk meant that the east, where massive amounts of generation capacity had been knocked out, was starved of power, since too little could be transferred from the west to bridge the shortfall.

EARLY 1930s More than 800 utilities compete for business, driving mergers in the depression era that left just five utilities by the late 1930s.

1939 As Japan prepares for war, the government took…

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