Gimme One of Those Happy e Time Plans

“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

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About July McAtee

American gal turned Japanese "salaryman" for a while. I'm blogging my experiences as my daughter and I move from Silicon Valley to Japan and beyond.
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2 Responses to Gimme One of Those Happy e Time Plans

  1. I checked out the website out of curiosity.

    低圧総合利用契約 would probably be better translated as a low-voltage composite plan, and 低圧蓄熱調整契約 as low-voltage thermal regulation. The first one allows you to combine a low-voltage plan (fixed power) with a metered plan (like you have), mostly for commercial users with a fixed base power consumption. The second one is for systems that store power at night (eg. storing cool water at night to use for air conditioning during the day), so it provides cheaper power but only at certain hours.

    Metered usage A is for light users, while B is for heavier users. Hapi e time is for people who use off-peak electric power, eg. a water heater programmed to run at night, which is why it’s cheaper at certain hours. If you have an instant water heater it’s probably not advantageous.

    • July McAtee says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Dominic! And for the great insights. I was being a bit silly about it, but in fact, this idea of customized pricing is quite interesting. I wonder what affect it has on overall energy usage in the end.

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