TOKYO, Nov. 5 (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday it will issue a tender to choose suppliers of electricity equivalent to 2.6 million kilowatts of thermal power to ensure stable supply in the future.

The utility, known as TEPCO, will close the tender in late May next year and announce the results in late July, it said.

The move is aimed at bringing about lower electricity rates by holding down the utility's capital investment to make up for lost nuclear power capacity following last year's disaster at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi plant.

In the tender, suppliers will be required to achieve annual operating rates of 70 to 80 percent and to start supplying power sometime between June 2019 and June 2021 for a 15-year period, in principle, but they will be able to choose the period of supply from a range of between 10 and 30 years.

Suppliers will also be required to sell electricity at or less than 9.53 yen per kilowatt based on relatively cheaper coal-fired power generation, according to TEPCO.

In TEPCO's comprehensive business plan approved by the government in May, the utility said it will hold a tender for work to build a thermal power plant and replace facilities at such plants.

Several firms including Chubu Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Gas Co. have expressed an interest in investing in TEPCO's old thermal power plants.