Getting Your Electricity Set Up in Japan

How to Start Electric Utilities in Japan

When moving to a new home in Japan, setting up your utilities (electricity, city gas, water, Internet) will be at the top of your to-do list. Some procedures involved can seem overwhelming for foreigners who have not (yet) mastered the Japanese language. Never fear…our handy guide to setting up your electricity in Japan will get you plugged in before you know it.

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Opening your electricity account in Japan

In order to start using electricity at your home in Japan, you need to open an electricity account, generally via one of the two following methods:

  • Contacting a call center (for major regional electric power companies)
  • Subscribing online

To open a new electricity account contract, the following information is required:

  1. Your address (住所 - Jûsho)
  2. Your name, the name on the contract (名義人 - Meigi-nin)
  3. Service start date (電気の使用開始日 - Denki no shiyo kaishi-bi)
  4. Meter power capacity/contract amperage (契約アンペア数 - Keiyaku Ampere Su)
  5. Payment method - credit card, direct account debit, bank wire transfer, electronic currency (支払い方法 - Shiharai hoho)

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Choosing the right amperage for your home

Understanding amperage

Your power rating, or amperage, corresponds to the maximum strength of the electric current (measured in amperes) that can pass through your electric meter. In other words, it is the maximum power available to you when using several electrical devices simultaneously.

If the strength of the current required by all electric devices used simultaneously exceeds this contracted amperage volume, it will trip your circuit breaker switch, and your electricity will be temporarily cut off.

On the other hand, if you rarely use numerous electric devices at the same time, or if the maximum strength of the electric current that you require is well below your contracted amperage, you may be able to change to a lower power rating and reduce your monthly bill.

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Amperage and your electricity bill

Your electricity bill is composed of several charges, including the base fee (基本料金, kihon ryokin) that you pay monthly regardless of consumption.

In most cases, this base fee (demand charge) is determined by your contracted amperage (the higher the power rating, the more expensive it is).

As an example, here is a list of TEPCO’s base fees.

Base Fees for TEPCO's Juryo Dento B Plan (従量電灯B)
Contract Ampere Base Fee/Demand Charge
10A 286.00 Yen
15A 429.00 Yen
20A 572.00 Yen
30A 858.00 Yen
40A 1144.00 Yen
50A 1430.00 Yen
60A 1716.00 Yen

Base Fee Calculation Systems: Amperage System/Minimum Charge System

The following companies use the amperage system to calculate your base fee: Hokkaido Electric Power Company, Tohoku Electric Power, Tokyo Electric Power Company, Hokuriku Electric Power Company, Chubu Electric Power, and Kyushu Electric Power.

The following companies use the minimum charge system to calculate your base fee: Kansai Electric Power Company, Chugoku Electric Power Company, and Shikoku Electric Power Company. (With these companies, you do not need to choose the amperage).

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

How to choose the appropriate amperage?

Calculating Your Amperage Amperes (A) = Watts(W)÷ Volts(V)
Japanese voltage is always 100V so you can calculate the amperage by simply dividing the value in Watts by 100. As an example, if you use an 800W microwave, the strength of the required electric current is 8A (= 800W/100V).

Required Amperes for Electronic Appliances
Electronic Appliances Watts (average) Required Amperes
Laptop 100W 1A
TV 100W 1A
Microwave 1300W 13A
Lights 200W 2A
Rice cooker 400W 4A
Refrigerator 300W 3A
Vacuum cleaner 1000W 10A
Washing machine 500W 5A
Air conditioner 500W 5A

To calculate your total required amperage (A), add up the amperes of all the appliances that you might use simultaneously. For example, if you tend to use your TV, microwave, lights, rice cooker, and refrigerator at the same time, your required total amperage would be calculated like this:

1A (TV) + 13A (microwave) + 2A (lighting) + 4A (rice cooker) + 3A (refrigerator) = 23A

In this case, you would need to register for a contracted amperage of 30A to avoid power failures when using your appliances simultaneously.

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Where to sign up - finding an electricity provider

There are two basic options for electricity: the conventional major regional electric power companies or newer alternative providers. These newer alternative electricity providers entered the market in 2016 after the deregulation of the Japanese electricity retail market. The main advantage of signing a contract with these newer providers is that they offer lower rates than the major companies.

  1. List of major regional electric power companies
  2. Major alternative electricity providers

List of Major Regional Electric Power Companies

Until the restructuring of the electricity market in 2016, these 10 major regional electric power companies held monopolies within their respective areas across Japan. In other words, until 2016, electric power companies were prohibited from selling electricity outside their own regions.

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Acronym

Full Name

Area of Activity

CEPCO Chugoku Electric Power Company Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Hyogo, Kagawa, Ehime
CHUDEN Chubu Electric Power Aichi, Mie, Gifu, Shizuoka, Nagano
HOKUDEN Hokuriku Electric Power Company Gifu, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui
HEPCO Hokkaido Electric Power Company Hokkaido
KYUDEN Kyushu Electric Power Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Oita, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima
KEPCO Kansai Electric Power Company Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Shiga, Wakayama, Fukui, Gifu, Mie
OKIDEN Okinawa Electric Power Company Okinawa
TEPCO Tokyo Electric Power Company Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Yamanashi, Shizuoka
TOHOKUDEN Tohoku Electric Power Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima, Nigata
YONDEN Shikoku Electric Power Company Kagawa, Kochi, Tokushima, Ehime

Major alternative electricity providers

There are many alternative electricity providers available in Japan. Here are four of the most popular ones.

Alternative Electricity Utilities
Name Features

Hinatao Energy

 Official Site
  • Beneficial price plans (cheaper than TEPCO)
  • Full-English support!
  • (Service available only in the Kanto region)

Tokyo Gas (Electricity)

Tokyo Gas Official Site
  • Beneficial price plans (cheaper than TEPCO)
  • (Service available only in the Kanto region)

Octopus Energy

オクトパスエナジー Official Site
  • Areas : All over Japan except Okinawa region
  • 100% Renewable energy plans available

DoCoMo Denki

ドコモでんき  Official Site
  • Earn d POINTs accumulating by payment of your electricity bill
  • Areas : All over Japan except Okinawa region

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Registering for electricity from TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company)

With coverage of the entire Kanto region, TEPCO is the largest electric power company in Japan, supplying electricity to more customers than any other company. Below is a detailed explanation of how to register with TEPCO as your electricity provider. The other major regional electric power companies follow very similar procedures for the most part.

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Prefectures where TEPCO operates Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Yamanashi, and Shizuoka Prefectures (east side)

Service area of TEPCO
Service area of TEPCO (Source: TEPCO website)

Contacting TEPCO

Before phoning TEPCO’s call center, you should check which telephone number to call, based on the region where you live and the nature of your inquiry.

Please be aware that getting through to an operator can take considerable time, as lines are often extremely busy, especially on Mondays. This is one reason why we always recommend subscribing online instead, via TEPCO's official website on Kurashi TEPCO Web (くらしTEPCO Web). Using this online platform, you can apply/register for TEPCO electricity, as well as check your TEPCO rates/charges or cancel your electricity when you want to.

If you are unable to connect with TEPCO's call center, or you prefer to speak in English, please call us at Selectra Japan. We can help you subscribe to TEPCO or find cheaper alternative electricity providers.

How to register for electricity from TEPCO
Call Center Telephone TEPCO's call center
NOTE: Lines are often extremely busy
  • Selectra's English-speaking advisers will help you compare providers, subscribe to the one you want, and save on your energy costs
  • You can subscribe to TEPCO through us. We can also advise you on how to find better rates
Free callback service OR 03-4520-8167
Online Official Website

Using electricity in Japan - getting started

This section explains the basics of electricity use in Japan once you have subscribed to an electricity provider and are receiving electricity at your home.

Starting up electricity service from TEPCO depends on the type of electricity meter (conventional analog meter or smart meter) installed at your home.

conventional meter and smart meter TEPCO
Conventional analog meter and smart meter (Source: TEPCO website)

Smart (digital) meter

By 2016, conventional analog electricity meters in Japan had been almost entirely replaced by smart meters. According to a press release by TEPCO on May 7th, 2021, this nationwide installation of smart meters is essentially complete apart from rare exceptions.

Please also note that when switching from a major electric power company to a new alternative electricity provider, it is compulsory to install a smart meter if your home still uses an analog meter.

Breaker switches inside smart meters

Each smart meter has a built-in breaker switch, meaning that it is not possible to operate the breaker manually. With a smart meter, all operations are conducted remotely by the power transmission and distribution company (e.g. TEPCO Power Grid).

If electricity is not available at all in a house or apartment that you are moving into, you must directly contact your regional power transmission and distribution company.

Conventional analog meters

If you look at your meter and can see disks spinning inside, you have a conventional analog meter. In this case, you can simply turn your breaker switch back on. To do so, please follow the instructions below.

If you have a conventional analog meter, the breaker switches will be located inside your residence. You can turn your electricity back on by flipping the breaker switches to ON if you follow this sequence.

  1. Ampere breaker (not always included)
  2. Earth leakage circuit breaker
  3. Wiring circuit breaker(s)

If the electricity does not work despite you turning on the ampere breaker correctly, contact your regional electricity company. For example, if you are in the Kanto area, contact the Tokyo Electric Power Grid (TEPCO) even if you have a contract with an alternative provider.

TEPCO Power grid is in charge of the electricity network and distribution Contact TEPCO Power Grid: 0120-995-007 (toll-free)/03-6375-9803 (charges apply)

Paying your electricity bill

Don’t forget to pay your electricity bill! Electricity bills in Japan are sent out in the mail on a monthly basis. Be careful not to accidentally throw them out with your junk mail, as they tend to be quite small and can sometimes get stuck between other larger pieces of mail!). They are typically due within 30 days of the date on the bill. There are usually three options when it comes to payment: in person, credit card, or automatic direct debit/withdrawal.

Digital payments using applications such as PayPay or PAYSLE have also been adopted by some electricity providers.

  1. Payment in person
  2. Credit card payment
  3. Automatic direct debit
  4. Choosing the right payment method for you

Payment in person

Most people in Japan pay electricity bills in person at the bank, the post office, or a convenience store. To pay your bill in person, simply take your bill stub to a nearby payment location (bank, post office, convenience store) and pay your bill at the counter. You may need to ask which forms of payment are accepted for utility bills at each particular location (e.g. cash, credit card, electronic currency). Paying in person has the advantage of being very simple and immediate, which can be reassuring especially if you are new to Japan. However, you must be careful not to lose the payment slip and forget to pay your bill on time, otherwise you risk being charged late payment fees!

Credit card payment

Many Japanese electric companies accept payment by credit card (VISA, Master Card, Diners Club, JCB, American Express, etc.). Some credit card companies offer points for using your card for bill payments. In most cases, you can set up automatic payments to guarantee that you never miss a payment. Not all foreign residents can easily obtain Japanese credit cards, however, so this could be a factor in whether you choose this option (paying using a foreign credit card could incur extra charges and exchange rates may also apply).

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Automatic direct debit/withdrawal

If you elect to use automatic direct debit/withdrawal from your bank account for payment, your electricity bill amount will be debited automatically from your bank account on a specified date. This ensures that you will not forget to make payments and you may even receive a discount on your bill. This will require you to have a Japanese bank account.

Some electric companies offer a discount of 54 yen per month on payments by automatic direct debit/withdrawal. These companies include:
TEPCO, Kansai, Chubu, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu

Choosing the right payment method for you

As mentioned above, the default payment method for electricity bills in Japan is payment in person. If you want to pay your electricity bill by credit card or automatic direct debit/withdrawal, you will need to contact your electric provider directly by Internet or telephone.

Registering for electricity when you first move in

It is highly recommended that you register for electricity well in advance of moving into a new house or apartment to avoid getting stuck for any period of time without access to electricity.

You can, of course, register with your regional major electric power company. If your new address is in the Kanto region, this will be TEPCO, with whom you can register (as mentioned above) by filling in their online form or by calling the TEPCO call center. You must also cancel your electricity contract at the house or apartment you are moving out of.

If you are looking to cut down on your utility bills, you can check out some alternative electricity providers as they often have cheaper rates. There are a large number of new electricity providers in Japan that tend to offer more attractive rates than major regional electric power companies.

Registering for electricity is something you cannot avoid when moving into a new place, so why not take a moment to look for better rates? Selectra Japan’s English-speaking agents are ready to help you find the best prices and complete your registration with the right electricity provider.

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

50 Hz or 60 Hz?

Moving Electricity Japan

Electrical voltage is consistent across the entirety of the Japanese archipelago at 100V, but there are two different electrical frequencies: 50 Hz in eastern Japan and 60 Hz in western Japan. Some domestic appliances are fully compatible with either frequency, others may vary in terms of performance depending on which frequency is used, and some are only compatible with one of the two frequencies.

Why does Japan have two different electrical frequencies? Good question! During the Meiji period (1868-1912), 50Hz German generators were installed in the Kanto region (eastern Japan), while 60Hz American generators were installed in the Kansai region (western Japan). Nowadays, however, for people who move between Kanto and Kansai, the difference in frequency no longer affects large appliances such as refrigerators or TVs because such appliances are manufactured to be compatible with either frequency.

VVoltage, plugs/sockets, and frequency in Japan

While electrical plugs in Japan closely resemble those from North America, voltage required by certain overseas appliances may not be compatible with the standard voltage in Japan (100V). Make sure to check whether you will need an adaptor or converter (or neither) before using your overseas appliances and electronics!

Voltage Plug/Socket Frequency
100V Type A 50Hz / 60Hz
The voltage in Japan is 100V the world's lowest at 100V, lower than Canada and the United States (110-120V), as well as Europe and the rest of the world (220-240V). Japan uses a Type A socket with two rectangular pins aligned in parallel, the type used in the USA, Canada, and many Asian countries. Unlike other countries, Japan has two different electric frequencies (Hz): 50Hz in the Kanto region (eastern Japan), 60Hz in the Kansai region (western Japan).
Plug Japan
Type A plug and socket (Japan)

What is the difference between an adaptor and a converter?

Adaptor Converter

If your appliance is compatible with 100V electricity but does not fit Japan’s Type A sockets, you can use an adaptor. Just plug the adaptor into the Japanese socket, then plug your appliance into the adaptor.

Make sure that the adaptor you use does not convert the electrical current passing through it to another voltage. An adaptor’s function is simply to allow your appliance to connect with the Japanese socket.

To convert the voltage in Japan to the voltage required by appliances such as hairdryers, you can use a converter.

Nowadays, some devices (listed below) are compatible with worldwide voltage rates ranging from 100V to 240V, so these can be used in Japan without a converter.

  • Laptops
  • Mobile phones
  • Power banks
  • Digital cameras
  • Portable video game devices
  • Digital music players, etc.
  • Hairdryers
  • Curling irons

Before using an adaptor and/or converter, please thoroughly check all specifications listed on your appliance to ensure it is compatible with the adaptor/converter as well as with Japanese electricity!

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Useful Japanese phrases when contacting utility providers in Japan

Getting your electricity hooked up in Japan can be challenging if you do not speak Japanese. Never fear…Selectra is here! Even for those not confident in their ability to speak full conversational Japanese, this brief language guide can help you arrange your home electricity needs.

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Starting/Stopping Service

English Japanese Pronunciation (Romaji)
I want to make a contract. 電気の契約をしたいです。 Denki no keiyaku o shitai desu.
I want to cancel my account. 電気の解約をしたいです。 Denki no kaiyaku o shitai desu.

Get a better deal!

hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's.
Apply now
(official site)
Get a better deal!
hinatao energy
Get your electricity and gas in the Kanto area with the only service with full English support, and enjoy better prices than TEPCO's. Apply now
(official site)

Moving In/Moving Out

English Phrase Japanese Pronunciation (Romaji)
Please stop my current service because I am moving. 引っ越しをするので電気を止めてください。 Hikkoshi o suru node, denki wo tomete kudasai.
My new address is --. 新しい住所は--です。 Atarashî jûsho wa -- desu.
I want to start using electricity on --. --月--日から電気の使用を開始したいです。 -- gatsu(month) -- nichi(date) kara denki no shiyô wo kaishi shitai desu.

Providing Personal Information

English Japanese Pronunciation (Romaji)
My address is --. 私の住所は--です。 Watashi no jûsho wa -- desu.
My name is --. 私の名前は--です。 Watashi no namae wa -- desu
My phone number is --. 私の電話番号は--です。 Watashi no denwa bangô wa -- desu.

Asking About Your Electricity Bill

English Japanese Pronunciation (Romaji)
Please check my electricity bill. 私の電気料金を調べてください。 Watashi no denki ryôkin o shirabete kudasai.
How much electricity (kWh) did I use this month?

私は今月何KWh使いましたか。

Watashi wa kongetsu nanKilowatt-hour tsukaimashita ka?
I forgot to pay my bill for this month. What should I do? 今月の電気代を払い忘れました。どうすればいいですか。 Kongetsu no denkidai o-harai wasuremashita. Dô sureba ii desu ka?

Requesting Modifications

English Japanese Pronunciation (Romaji)
I want to change my electricity plan. 料金プランを変更したいです。 Ryôkin puran o henkô shitai desu.
I want to change the method of payment. 電気代の支払い方法を変更したいです。 Denkidai no shiharai hôhô o henkô shitai desu.
I want to pay my bill by credit card. カードで支払いをしたいです。 Kâdo de shiharai o shitai desu.
I want to change my contract amperage. 契約アンペアを変更したいです。 Keiyaku anpea o henkô shitai desu.
What is the most suitable plan for my usage? 私の電気使用量に最適なプランは何ですか。 Watashi no denki shiyôryô ni saiteki-na puran wa nan desu ka?

Changing Electricity Providers

English Japanese Pronunciation (Romaji)
I want to change electricity providers. 電力切り替えをしたいです。 Denryoku kirikae o shitai desu.

Other Useful Phrases

English Japanese Pronunciation (Romaji)
I've had a power outage. 停電しました。 Teiden shimashita.
How can I get my electricity working again? どうすれば電気が使えるようになりますか。 Dô sureba denki ga tsukaeru yô ni narimasu ka?
Please explain -- in a bit more detail. --を詳しく説明してください。 -- o kuwashiku setsumei shite kudasai.
I’m sorry but I do not understand. Can you explain it again please? 分かりません。もう一度説明してください。 Wakarimasen. Môichido setsumei shite kudasai.
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