How to Save on Your Electricity Bill in Japan

How to save on your electricity bill

Electricity rates are quite high in Japan compared to other developed countries and many foreigners find their bills to be too expensive. But did you know there are some simple ways to help you save on your bills? Here are 3 tips to lower your bills through reducing your electricity consumption.

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Tip 1: Understand How to Calculate Your Electricity Bill in Japan

Understanding how to calculate your electricity bill is crucial to reducing the amount you pay. The calculation system might differ slightly from the system in your country, but it is fairly simple. Let's see the details of the electricity bill calculation system in Japan.

There are 10 historical electric utility providers in Japan and each of them provide various plans. In spite of the numerous options, the majority of households (especially non-Japanese residents) subscribe to a standard plan, also called Jyuryou Dento (従量電灯) in Japanese.

The structure of this regular plan is the same for all 10 major electricity suppliers. It consists of a Basic Fee (基本料金) that you pay every month, regardless of your consumption, and of fees based on your consumption.

Electricity Bill = Basic Fees
+ Charge for the Amount of Electricity Used (including Fuel Cost Adjustment Amount)
+ Renewable Energy Power Promotion Surcharge

Note that some providers set the Base Fee (基本料金) according to your amperage (the level of power your meter can use) while other companies just has a set amount as a minimum fee.

In the table below we sum up the different components of your bill:

Total electricity bill

Basic fees

Fixed fee that corresponds to your demand charge and varies according to your contract ampere/your provider

Energy use charge

Monthly energy consumption
Energy charge rate

Renewable energy power promotion surcharge

Monthly energy consumption
Surcharge rate

Fuel cost adjustment amount

Monthly energy consumption
Fuel cost adjustment rate

For a more detailed explanation of the calculation system of an electricity bill for a regular plan, do not hesitate to check out our article about TEPCO's electricity bill calculation.

For now let's note that the two important factors in your bill are your energy consumption and the base fee

The other components, such as the fuel cost adjustment rate and the renewable energy power promotion surcharge are determined by the Japanese government, so they will stay the same no matter which company you chose or how much energy you consume.

Tip 2: Choose the adapted contracted amperage

Once you have understood how your electricity bill is constructed, you can use this knowledge to reduce the price you pay. As explained above, the first element that can vary is the Base Fee which most of the time, depends on your contracted amperage.

The Contract Ampere, the amperage on your contract, corresponds to the maximum amount of electricity you can use at a given time. The contract ampere should be greater than the energy necessary to simultaneously utilize all of your electric appliances.

The higher your contracted ampere is, the most expensive your basic fees will be. Thus, if your current contracted power rating is higher than necessary, you may be able to save money by changing your ampere!

For example, the demand charge applied by TEPCO varies from ¥280.80 to ¥1,684.80 per month, as you can see in the table below:

Demand Charge and Contracted Ampere at TEPCO
Contracted Ampere 10A 15A 20A 30A 40A 50A 60A
Demand Charge ¥280.80 ¥421.20 ¥561.60 ¥842.40 ¥1,123.20 ¥1,404.00 ¥1,684.80

To check if your amperage is adapted to your need or if it is unnecessarily high, you can read our guide to choose the right power rating.

In order to change the contracted power rating, you have to directly contact your electricity provider.


Tip 3: Reduce your energy consumption

Obviously the amount of electricity you consume is the most important factor on your bill; it impacts the energy charge, the fuel cost adjustment, and the renewable energy power promotion surcharge you will have to pay.

If you want to reduce your bill, thinking about ways to reduce your consumption is a great place to start. According to the research done by the Japanese Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, the 5 most energy-consuming appliances at home in Japan are as flows:

  1. Refrigerator
  2. Light
  3. Television
  4. Air conditioner
  5. Electrical water heater

There are many daily practices you can adopt to reduce your electricity consumption, starting with unplugging a device when you are not using them (especially the phone and computer chargers, television and so on...), limiting the time that you keep the refrigerator's door open, or simply switching off the lights that are not needed.

Not only reducing your electricity consumption will help you save money on your bill, but it is also an environment-friendly thing to do during a time of global warming.