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Rating Action:

Correction to Text, Jul 1, 2011 Release: Moody's downgrades nine Japanese utilities; continues review for possible downgrade

 The document has been translated in other languages

05 Jul 2011

Tokyo, July 05, 2011 -- Substitute senior unsecured for senior secured in second paragraph, second sentence, "The ratings of Tokyo Gas were also downgraded by one notch (to Aa2 senior unsecured from Aa1). "

Revised release follows.

Moody's Japan K.K. has downgraded the ratings of nine Japanese utilities and has also kept their long-term ratings on review for possible further downgrade.

Ratings downgraded by one notch include those of non-nuclear-generating utilities Electric Power Development or J-Power (to Aa3 senior unsecured and Issuer Rating from Aa2); and Okinawa Electric (to Aa3 senior secured and Issuer Rating from Aa2). The ratings of Tokyo Gas were also downgraded by one notch (to Aa2 senior unsecured from Aa1).

Ratings downgraded by two notches include those of nuclear-generating utilities Chubu Electric (to A1 senior secured and Issuer Rating from Aa2); Chugoku Electric (to A1 senior secured and Issuer Rating from Aa2); Hokkaido Electric (to A1 senior secured from Aa2); Hokuriku Electric (to A1 senior secured from Aa2); Kansai Electric (to A1 senior secured and Issuer Rating from Aa2); and Kyushu Electric (to A1 senior secured from Aa2).

The rating of Osaka Gas (Aa2 senior unsecured) is unchanged, but remains on review for possible downgrade.

RATING RATIONALE

The rating actions reflect our expectation of a less supportive Japanese government regulatory framework for all Japanese utilities following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster due to the March 11 earthquake. In Moody's opinion, the regulatory environment now exhibits more uncertainty and less predictability than previously anticipated.

The two-notch downgrades of those electric utilities with nuclear-generation capabilities considers the additional and more immediate risks facing these companies following the events at Fukushima Daiichi, including their significantly higher expenses for LNG and other fossil fuels. It also reflects the resulting economic, financial, and political conditions that may make it more difficult for these companies to continue recovering their higher costs on a timely basis.

The crisis at Fukushima Daiichi has prompted a profound reassessment of the role of nuclear power in Japan, with the risk that other nuclear plants will remain offline for an extended period due to public concern over safety at such facilities.

At the same time, J-Power, Okinawa Electric, Osaka Gas, and Tokyo Gas are insulated to a large degree from these nuclear-specific developments. However, Moody's notes that J-Power has temporarily halted construction of its first nuclear power plant in Ohma, which was expected to be completed in 2014, and could be negatively affected by adverse nuclear developments in the future.

The relative ranking of the ratings also considers that the gas companies have lower business risk and better financial metrics and liquidity relative to the electric utilities. Tokyo Gas' financial metrics and those of Osaka Gas have moved into closer alignment so their ratings are now the same. The rating actions also reflect a degree of risk differentiation among the electrics in favor of the two with the least nuclear exposure. As further described below, there are multiple conduits through which further stress may crystallize at these entities.

In May, at the request of the Prime Minister, Chubu Electric ceased all electric production at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant due to concerns about large scale earthquake and tsunami. .

Moreover, possible delays in the restart of nuclear plants currently idled for maintenance could lead to power shortages at other utilities, including Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric, and which have the highest level of reliance on nuclear power among the Japanese utilities.

Moody's believes that the business risk profile of all Japanese utilities with nuclear generation capabilities has increased considerably over the last several months.

In addition, as part of a proposed support plan for compensation payments related to the Fukushima Daiichi accident, all Japanese utilities that own and operate nuclear plants will be required to make contributions to a newly created organization that would be charged with paying compensation claims.

The support plan was approved by the Japanese Cabinet in mid-June and then sent to the Diet for consideration. The plan establishes a framework of mutual responsibility for the operation of all of Japan's nuclear power facilities, with the required contributions adding to the cost and rate pressures on all utilities with nuclear-generation capabilities. Moreover, the magnitude and timing of these contributions remain uncertain and could be material.

In addition to the costs associated with the support plan and a likely shift away from nuclear power in the country, utilities are incurring substantial costs for the purchases of coal and LNG to prepare for an increased reliance on thermal power plants. These fuel purchases will add to rate pressure and increase energy costs for residential, commercial, and industrial customers throughout Japan at a time when economic conditions are challenging.

The ratings of all of these utilities remain on review for possible further downgrade. The continuing review considers the uncertainty associated with the Japanese government's proposed Fukushima Daiichi compensation framework. The plan is expected to be considered by the Diet over the next two to three months, although key details have yet to be determined.

There are also uncertainties associated with the rising operating and cost structures of Japanese utilities as less expensive nuclear power is initially replaced by more expensive thermal and eventually renewable sources of generation at a time when economic conditions remain challenging.

Moody's will continue to evaluate regulatory and political developments in Japan as the government manages the ongoing Fukushima Daiichi crisis and addresses the future of nuclear power in the country.

Furthermore, the ratings of all of these utilities incorporate a degree of uplift for system support, so remain on review for possible downgrade pending the outcome of Moody's review of the ratings of Japanese Government Bonds (JGB) and banks, which have been on review for possible downgrade since May 31, 2011. A downgrade of these entities could signal a weakening of Japan's support system, which currently boosts the ratings of the Japanese utilities due to the implicit financial support available from both the Japanese government and the country's principal banks.

Ratings downgraded and remaining on review for possible downgrade include:

Chubu Electric Power Company, Inc.: to A1 senior secured and Issuer Rating from Aa2;

Chugoku Electric Power Company, Inc.: to A1 senior secured and Issuer Rating for Aa2;

Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J-Power): to Aa3 senior unsecured and Issuer Rating from Aa2;

Hokkaido Electric Power Company, Inc.: to A1 senior secured from Aa2;

Hokuriku Electric Power Company: to A1 senior secured from Aa2;

Kansai Electric Power Company, Inc.: to A1 senior secured and Issuer Rating from Aa2;

Kyushu Electric Power Company, Inc.: to A1 senior secured from Aa2;

Okinawa Electric Power Company, Inc.: to Aa3 senior secured and Issuer Rating from Aa2;

Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.: to Aa2 senior unsecured from Aa1.

Ratings unchanged and remaining on review for possible downgrade include:

Osaka Gas Company at Aa2 senior unsecured.

The principal methodology used in rating these issuers was Moody's Regulated Electric and Gas Utilities, published on September 30, 2010 and available on www.moodys.co.jp.

The rated utility companies are integrated and dominant suppliers of electricity and gas in their respective service areas and wholesale power company.

Chubu Electric Power Company, Inc. (headquarters in Aichi), Chugoku Electric Power Company, Inc. (headquarters in Hiroshima), Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (headquarters in Tokyo), Hokkaido Electric Power Company, Inc. (headquarters in Hokkaido), Hokuriku Electric Power Company (headquarters in Toyama), Kansai Electric Power Company, Inc. (headquarters in Osaka), Kyushu Electric Power Company, Inc. (headquarters in Fukuoka), Okinawa Electric Power Company, Inc. (headquarters in Okinawa), and Tokyo Gas Co, Ltd. (headquarters in Tokyo), Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. (headquarters in Osaka).

Moody's will host a teleconference in Japanese language beginning at 17:00 Tokyo Time on Monday, July 4. To register and for additional information please visit http://www.moodys.com/eventslist.aspx.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, confidential and proprietary Moody's information.

Measures taken to ensure the quality of this information include use of public information, reviews by a third party and verification by the lead analyst.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligations satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining a credit rating.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Credit ratings are Moody's current opinions of the relative future credit risk of entities, credit commitments, or debt or debt-like securities. Moody's defines credit risk as the risk that an entity may not meet its contractual, financial obligations as they come due and any estimated financial loss in the event of default. Credit ratings do not address any other risk, including but not limited to: liquidity risk, market value risk, or price volatility. Credit ratings do not constitute investment or financial advice, and credit ratings are not recommendations to purchase, sell, or hold particular securities. No warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose of any such rating or other opinion or information is given or made by Moody's in any form or manner whatsoever. The credit risk of an issuer or its obligations is assessed based on information received from the issuer or from public sources. Moody's may change the rating when it deems necessary. Moody's may also withdraw the rating due to insufficient information, or for other reasons.

Moody's Japan K.K. is a credit rating agency registered with the Japan Financial Services Agency and its registration number is FSA Commissioner (Ratings) No. 2. The Financial Services Agency has not imposed any supervisory measures on Moody's Japan K.K. in the past year.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on the Moody's website for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on the Moody's website for further information.

Please see the Credit Policy page on the Moody's website for the methodologies used in determining ratings, further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Tokyo
Kenji Okamoto
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
JOURNALISTS: (03) 5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: (03) 5408-4100

Tokyo
Shinsuke Tanimoto
Senior Vice President - Team Leader
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
JOURNALISTS: (03) 5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: (03) 5408-4100

Moody's Japan K.K.
Atago Green Hills Mori Tower 20fl
2-5-1 Atago, Minato-ku
Tokyo 105-6220
Japan
JOURNALISTS: (03) 5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: (03) 5408-4100

Correction to Text, Jul 1, 2011 Release: Moody's downgrades nine Japanese utilities; continues review for possible downgrade
No Related Data.
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