The regulatory freedom that independent power producers soon will have to sell electricity directly to major customers as well as to wholesale it to electric utilities has the interest of another American company. INTERGEN, equally owned by SHELL GENERATING LTD. and engineering and construction giant BECHTEL CORP., is talking with MARUBENI CORP. about a tie-up to build and operate generating plants. Using Boston-based InterGen's cost-saving technology for building generation facilities and operating them, the prospective partners figure that they can undercut the prices charged by Japan's 10 regional electric utilities by anywhere from 20 percent to 30 percent. TEXACO INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 360, September 1999, p. 17) and ENRON CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 365, February 2000, p. 6) are among the other U.S. firms that think that Japan's electricity market is ripe for competition from outsiders.
An exchange rate of ¥109=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa