“Can’t I just say, ‘please turn on the power,’ pay some money, and be done with it?” I wailed at the screen. I was setting up my electricity online for my Osaka apartment with Kepco (Kansai Electric Power Co., not to be confused with Tepco, the electric company we’ve all heard so much about in recent months.)
No, the screen implied with its confusing array of options, clearly not, you selfish, simple-minded American.
Perhaps it’s my American origins, but I like to have three options, so that I can pick the middle one. Things are rarely so simple in Japan.
So I picked the option that sounded the cutest: the Happy e Time Plan, with time-of-use pricing, offering cheap rates for early morning, evenings, weekends, and holidays, and exorbitant rates at all other times.
All plans, and in fact every other line of text on the website, warn of rolling brownouts.
As it turns out, I’m not eligible for the Happy e Time plan. I was booted down to the more prosaic Metered Usage Lighting A plan, because my apartment isn’t all-electric.
At least I wasn’t assigned to the Mournful e Time plan. I don’t know if I could have borne it.
Just for kicks, here are all the options I seemingly had to choose from. The translations are my best guess + a couple of good suggestions from Dominic (see his comment).)
はぴeタイム: Happy e Time
従量電灯Ａ: Metered Usage Lighting A
従量電灯Ｂ: Metered Usage Lighting B
時間帯別電灯: Time-of-Use Lighting
深夜電力Ｂ(低圧): Late Night Power B (Low Voltage)
融雪用電力: Power for Melting Snow
低圧総合利用契約: Low-Voltage Composite Plan
低圧蓄熱調整契約: Low-Voltage Thermal Regulation
低圧季時別電力: Low-Voltage Season-Based Power