EPCO Plans to Expand Its Retail Electricity Business for Homes

2014/02/10 21:43
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

EPCO Co Ltd made an announcement about its retail electricity business targeted at normal households in view of full liberalization of the retail electricity market scheduled in 2016 in Japan.

EPCO is a Japan-based firm that designs household equipment. It aims to achieve sales of ¥35 billion (approx US$342 million) by providing its energy service-related platform to municipalities, telecommunications companies and PPSes (power producer and supplier) that enter the retail electricity market for households and providing services to 10 million households in 2018.

The platform is linked to an HEMS (home energy management system) via the Internet, enabling to provide services of diagnosing electricity price plans, purchasing solar electricity, purchasing and selling electricity, remotely monitoring elderly people's conditions, etc. As services that can be commercialized under the current systems, EPCO has already launched services of purchasing surplus solar electricity generated at home (household solar power aggregator business) and leasing home-use rechargeable batteries.

The former service is run by EPCO's joint venture (JV) formed with Panasonic Corp, and the latter was launched by its JV formed with Orix Corp and NEC Corp.

For the future, EPCO is considering combining water and sewer services and electricity sales in collaboration with local governments as well as a service of helping balance power supply and demand in view of full liberalization of the retail electricity market scheduled in 2016.

In partnership with the University of Cambridge, the company has been engaged in analysis of electricity consumption at home, prediction from the viewpoint of behavioral economics, development of electricity trading systems, etc, planning to use them for its future services such as of purchasing surplus solar electricity.