In this article, we explain how to read your electricity bill, including how to understand the base rate you’re being charged and how additional charges are calculated as your electricity usage increases. This post is part of the series on “how to live in a Japanese apartment“.
In the example below, we use a bill from TEPCO (which serves the greater Tokyo area), but the information below is generally applicable to electricity bills for other parts of Japan.
Understanding Your Electricity Bill in Japan
Box 1 (Dark Blue): Your Name and Address
電気のご使用量のお知らせ: (Denki no goshiyōryou-no-oshirase) Notice of Amount of Electricity Use
[Your Name] 様 (Sama): Mr./Ms. Your name would appear here, preceding “Sama” (Mr./Ms.)
[Your Address] ご使用場所 (Goshiyō-Basho): Address where electricity was used
Box 2 (Green): Billing Period
２８年１月 (28 Nen 1 Gatu): January 2016 (The number 28 refers to Heisei 28 in the Japanese calendar)
ご使用期間 (Goshiyō kikan): Period of use (The period for which you are being billed)
検針月日 (Kenshin Tsuki-Hi): Date of meter reading (The number “33” in this bill means that there were 33 days in the billing period)
Box 3 (Yellow): Number of Kilowatt Hours Used
ご使用量 (Goshiyōryou): Amount used. The amount shown in this bill (429 kWh) would be typical for a family for a winter electricity bill, especially if you are using electricity to heat your home.
Box 4 (Orange): Billing Amount
請求金額（Seikyū kingaku): Billing Amount
The total amount being billed is ¥12,542. The smaller number (¥924) is the amount of consumption tax.
Under the total billing amount is a breakdown of charges.
基本料金 (Kihon Ryoukin): Base rate. In this case, 1,684円. Every month you will pay a base rate for electricity usage based on the contract you have chosen (please see below for more info on contract types).
Box (4.5): Breakdown of your bill by usage tier
Your final bill depends on how much electricity you use at certain usage tiers.
一段料金 (Ichidan ryōkin): First-tier amount
二段料金 (Nidan ryōkin): Second-tier amount
三段料金 (Sandan ryōkin): Third-tier amount
- Tier one usage is calculated up to 120kWh
- Tier two usage is calculated up to 300kWh
- Tier three usage is calculated for usage above 300kWh per month
The actual rate for each tier depends on the usage plan you are signed up for. The cost per kWh increases as you use more electricity. Most households covered by TEPCO are charged the following:
- Tier one: ¥19.43 per kWh
- Tier two: ¥25.91 per kWh
- Tier three: ¥29.93 per kWh
So basically, to save money on your TEPCO electricity bill, you would want to keep your electricity usage below 120kWH per month to be charged at the lowest tier.
燃料費調整額 (Nenryō-hi chōsei-gaku): Adjustment for fuel charges. This is an adjustment that TEPCO automatically makes for fluctuations in the cost of fuel.
再エネ発電賦課金等 (Sai0-ene hatsuden fuka-kin-tō): Levy for renewable energy. This amount changes depending on how much electricity you use.
延滞利息額 (Entai risoku-gaku): Service charge for delinquent payment. You will see this on your bill if are delinquent in paying last month’s bill!
If you pay your bill by automatic bank transfer every month, you will receive a small discount on your bill.
口座振替割引 (Kōza furikae waribiki): Direct debit discount. You will receive a small discount every month if you pay your bill by direct debit, rather than paying by payment invoice at the convenience store.
Box 5 (Light Blue): Contract Information
ご契約類別 (Go keiyaku ruibetsu): Type of contract.
従量電灯 (Jūryō dentō B): Literally “Metered Light B”. This is the contract type being used.
60A, in the example above, indicates the maximum amount of usage allowed per month. A stands for “ampere”.
“Metered Light B” is the type of contract used by most households serviced by TEPCO, but you can change your contract type and maximum allowed amperage usage by contacting TEPCO.
You can also choose the the base rate (also called the “demand charge”) that best fits your electricity usage, from 10A (where the base rate is only ¥280 per month) up to 60A (where the base rate is ¥1,684 per month). In between you can choose from: 15A, 20A, 30A, 40A, and 50A.
The contracted ampere capacity is an indication of the volume of electricity that you can use at any one time. For example, with a basic 20-ampere contract, you can use 100-volt electrical appliances up to a total of 2,000 watts at any one time (for example, a 1,000-W microwave oven, a 700-W rice cooker, and a 300-W vacuum cleaner).
Box 6 (Dark Pink): Meter Information
This shows the breakdown of your meter reading.
当月指示数 (Tōgetsu shiji-sū): This month’s indicator number
前月指示数 (Zengetsu shiji-sū): Last month’s indicator number
差引き(Sashihiki): Difference. The difference in the meter reading this month compared to last month.
計器番号 (Keiki bangō): The three digit number (528) are the last three digits of your meter number.
Box 7 (Purple): Fuel Cost Adjustment
This box shows the details of how the fuel adjust varied from this month compared to last month. This amount is usually very small (about one yen).
Box 8 (Brown): Due Date & Next Meter Reading Date
今月分お支払い期限日 (Kongetsu-bun o shiharai kigen-bi): Payment due date this month
次回検針予定日 (Jikai kenshin yotei-bi): Next scheduled meter reading date
Box 9 (Grey): Receipt for Electricity Payment
電気料金等領収書 (Denki ryōkin-tō ryōshū-sho): Receipt for electricity bill payment
If you pay your bill by payment voucher at a convenience store, the clerk will stamp this portion of the bill and return it to you for your records.
The information is repeated in the Orange (which month this payment is for), Green (amount paid), and Brown (payment due date) boxes, as this serves as your receipt after you’ve paid.
Box 10 (Pink) Customer Number
お客様番号 (Okyakusama bangō): Customer Number
You will need to know this number when you contact TEPCO (or whoever is your local power company) for any reason (for example, to change your contract type, when you move out, have questions about your bill).
Box 11 (Black): Contact Information
お問い合わせ先 (O toiawase-saki): Contact information
Please be aware that the contact information for TEPCO varies depending on where you live in Tokyo or the surrounding area and for the type of service you require. Please use the link below
There is usually one number to use in case you are moving or changing your contract and another number for any other questions.
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