Translated by Sandy Lau
Still Paying High Bills? Save On Utility Costs By Using ENECHANGE
Written by MATCHA TH
Would you like to save on your monthly utility bills in Japan? ENECHANGE is a site that compares budget-friendly plans for utility bills across the country. Get guided step-by-step on ENECHANGE and find out how to start saving more on your energy.
How to Choose a Budget-Friendly Energy Plan in Japan
If you want to save on electricity bills, what ways come to mind? There are straightforward methods, like turning off lights when not in use, stopping yourself from frequently opening and closing the refrigerator, and not changing the temperature on your air conditioner more than necessary.
If you want to use energy even more effectively, then take advantage of Japan's deregulated electricity market and its many economical options for consumers. You can save quite a bit of money annually by making use of this system.
Photo by Pixta
Up until recently, electricity used by each household could only be contracted with an electric power company authorized by that region. Even now, authorized companies can provide electricity to many homes. Tokyo and the Kanto region are powered by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), while Osaka and Kyoto are powered by Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO).
However, the law was amended in August 2016. The new amendment makes it possible for electric power companies outside of the major companies mentioned above to enter the electricity market with electricity trade and services. Thanks to this change, households in Japan have more options for where their energy comes from.
Select Between Many Energy Suppliers in Japan
The greatest merit is, above all else, the ability to save on electricity bills.
Companies come out with all sorts of special offers now to attract customers to compete with the growing businesses in the market, leading to advantages for consumers.
The availability of several types of payment plans is one of those advantages. For instance, a household gas provider that has just entered the electricity market will promise an additional discount when applying for both electricity and gas with the same company. Some companies will offer the first three months of use for free, while other companies may present new customers with points and gift certificates.
You also have the option of switching over to electric power companies that focus on clean energy with wind or solar power. By doing so, you can help to reduce greenhouse gases and show consideration toward the earth and the natural environment through a green lifestyle.
There may be certain conditions given to you depending on the company. One may require you to sign for a separate plan when signing your contract while another may enforce penalty fees for early cancellation of your contract. For that reason, be sure to carefully review what conditions are in your contract.
Do you plan to move to a new home in the future? Be sure to apply for a plan that doesn't come with fees for terminating your contract early.
Some may worry, “Doesn’t this increase the chances of a power outage if my bills are this cheap?” or “Wouldn’t this decrease the power supply?” However, you don’t have to be nervous. You will receive a normal, full supply of electricity that won’t hinder your daily lifestyle.
Use ENECHANGE to Find Budget-Friendly Energy
Many companies offer payment plans, but what’s the best way to pick one? If this is your concern, then we recommend using ENECHANGE. This site compiles the information you need about electric power and gas companies throughout Japan so you can compare plans all in one place.
The site might look like the search engines that are used when searching for hotels and plane tickets during discount campaigns. Information and prices are compared, then made into an easy-to-understand list that covers nearly all of the information found across Japan.
Advantages of ENECHANGE
1. Compare New Plans to Your Current Electricity Bill
ENECHANGE roughly calculates your annual electricity bill based on information you enter. Afterwards, it will present a list of payment plans personalized to your power consumption sorted in descending order by the amount in discounts.
The numbers outlined in red is a rough estimate of what you can save in the first year. Some plans were even discounted by more than 10,000 yen.
The companies that offer these payment plans, discounts, and services will differ based on your power consumption, the capacity of your electric meter (amperage), region, changes from your current electric power company, and any changes consequent of moving. Try comparing prices and the latest plans on ENECHANGE (Japanese).
The lists also include contract cancellation fees and application conditions. You can even make a decent comparison by just skimming through the list.
2. Apply Immediately Online
If there’s a plan you’re interested in, you can apply for the plan via the application form on ENECHANGE’s website (it will sometimes link to the electric power company’s official website). This saves the trouble of opening several sites and tabs.
Once you apply to switch electric power companies, your selected company will handle the contract cancellation process with your current company for you. If you have any questions or wish to discuss anything during the entire process, from the application process to the completion of the switchover, the staff of ENECHANGE will be there to assist you.
3. Special Perks when Applying via ENECHANGE
Do you see a message like the one circled above? That means you received a special perk from ENECHANGE (Japanese) that is available just for applicants! Pictured above is an 8,000-yen gift voucher. The screen shows that you can save up 18,721 yen the first year by using this voucher.
How to Use ENECHANGE
1. Calculate Current Power Consumption
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First, input your current power consumption in the entry field indicated on the Electricity Bill Simulation (Japanese).
After inputting your postal code, next, input your household size and electricity consumption habits (for example, during the day, no one is home/less than half the family is home/everyone is home, etc.) This calculates your regular power consumption and will pull up suitable payment plans.
A sample of an electricity bill statement.
Once you’ve inserted your postal code, the names of companies offering services in your area will automatically be displayed.
Select your current electricity provider’s name, plan, and the capacity of your electric meter (a normal household uses 30A – 40A. It is stated on your home’s circuit breaker.) For power consumption, you have the option to input either your electricity bill for one month or the consumption amount itself. This can be confirmed on your electricity bill statement.
2. Compare Plans
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The number outlined in red is the amount you can save the first year on your new plan. The image above was calculated using power consumption.
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This time, it displayed a plan that will save 17,005 yen. The breakdown explains that the discount total includes “the drop in price when switching from your current company + the 8,000 yen gift voucher.”
3. Switch to a New Plan through ENECHANGE
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Apply for a new plan through ENECHANGE once you’ve thoroughly examined and decided which plan to change to.
Input your name, address, contact number, customer reference number with your electric power company, and designated electricity supply point number. This information can be confirmed on your electricity bill statement.
Check that you haven’t made any errors in your application form and send it in! ENECHANGE will assist you throughout the entire process. You are also free to send an inquiry to the staff if you have any questions in Japanese.
Use ENECHANGE and Save on Utility Bills!
In Japan, you can easily save on electricity bills by switching electric power companies. Get started by checking out the Electricity Bill Simulation (Japanese).
Remember that you can start saving right away as soon as you switch over!
Pictures courtesy of ENECHANGE
Main image by Pixta