Japan’s regional utilities consumed a record volume of coal while cutting their use of higher-priced fuel oil and crude in August, says the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC).

Japan’s utilities used close to 6m tonnes of coal in August, which is 21 per cent up on a year earlier, according to data released by the industry group.

A spokesman for FEPC confirmed that this is the most coal consumed since the federation started compiling data from the ten companies in 1972.

In contract, fuel oil and crude demand fell by 28 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively.

Coal burning by the utilities has been increasing year on year.

Recent examples include Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) (9501:Tokyo), which began test operations at two plants in April, and in March Tohoku Electric Power Company (9506:Tokyo) resumed commercial operations at a unit shut by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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