Photo/IllutrationA solar power station operated by Green Shimin Denryoku in Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture (Atsushi Komori)

FUKUOKA--A renewable energy supplier here plans to file the nation’s first lawsuit against the central government’s policy of forcing electricity users to provide compensation funds for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Green Shimin Denryoku, an association established by cooperatives in the Kyushu, Chugoku and Kansai regions, said it will sue the government in the Fukuoka District Court at an appropriate time. The lawsuit will demand the central government withdraw its policy of increasing a consignment charge that alternative energy companies pay for using regional utilities’ power lines.

As early as April 2020, the government plans to use the increase in the consignment charge, which is covered by electricity users, to provide compensation funds for victims of the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The association, which has produced solar power and other alternative energies and transmitted electricity to its customers via regional utilities’ power lines, also plans to file a lawsuit against Kyushu Electric Power Co., seeking reimbursement of the additional amount paid for the consignment charge.

“It is very problematic that we are forced to pay unintended costs derived from the nuclear accident,” Chiemi Kumano, director representative of Green Co-op Community, said. “If we allow such a practice, it will end up helping to preserve nuclear power.”

Green Shimin Denryoku, established in 2012 by Green Co-op Community that advocates breaking with nuclear power, estimates that it will have to pay between 1 million yen and 2 million yen ($9,420 to $18,840) annually to Kyushu Electric for the compensation costs.

In the aftermath of triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant, the central government established a system to appropriate compensation money from electricity users who have contracts with regional utilities.

However, the estimated compensation costs ballooned from 5.4 trillion yen to 7.9 trillion yen, leading the government to introduce additional measures, including increasing the consignment charges.

The government decided that alternative energy suppliers should cover a total of 240 billion yen of the extra burden.

Kenichi Oshima, a professor at Ryukoku University who specializes in issues regarding energy production costs, said the lawsuit will be a meaningful protest against the “far-fetched logic” behind the government’s policy.

“The central government used the logic that people are responsible for the liabilities from the nuclear accident, in deciding to impose additional compensation costs,” he said. “If that holds true, Japan Railways, for example, could use the same logic and raise train fares to cover accident-related costs.”