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Panel to review operation of state-run energy corp. amid price hike

Panel to review operation of state-run energy corp. amid price hike

Taipei, April 9 (CNA) A special panel has been formed to review the performances of the state-run electricity and fuel companies following a much criticized gasoline price hike, an economics official said Monday. The panel, established to address public criticism of the recent fuel price increase, comprises 21 members, from CEOs and consumer group representatives to scholars to government officials, said Liu Ming-chung, executive director of the State-owned Enterprise Commission under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). The CPC Corp., Taiwan raised domestic unleaded gasoline prices April 2 by between NT$2.3 (US$0.078) and NT$3.6 per liter or 7 to 11 percent, while Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), also plans hikes of both domestic and industrial electricity rates this year. Four major issues will be on the agenda of the panel's first meeting, set for the following day and to be presided over by Minister of Economics Shih Yen-shiang, according to Liu. The panelists will discuss how to boost the operational performances and lower costs for the two corporations, as well as review their purchase systems, Liu went on. Their employment systems will also be examined, he added, including salaries and benefits, which have also come under fire for being unreasonably generous, particularly as the two companies are in the red. The panel will also talk about the two enterprises' progress in privatization, said Liu. Meanwhile, Lee Chun-li, an official of the Energy Bureau under the MOEA said that any increase in electricity prices must go through the required process and must be published one month before taking effect. The date on which an advisory committee on electricity prices will hold a meeting is under discussion and will definitely be announced when it has been decided, Lee noted. Usually, Taipower has to be submit a proposal for a price hike to the MOEA, which will then organize an advisory committee to discuss the plan. The meeting's conclusion then needs to be approved by the ministry. Taipower spokesman Lee Hung-chou, however, said the company is unaware of any timetable for such a meeting. In related news, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu said that day that the government should refrain from taking any initiative to fuel inflation. On the contrary, Hu said, it should take every possible measure to prevent consumer price hikes. Hu cited his city as an example, noting that the city provides an incentive of free bus rides within an eight-kilometer range and encourages schoolchildren to take the bus. The city government plans to add 80 more bus routes in July after statistics indicate that the city's commuters have grown by 10 percent as gasoline prices have risen, Hu added. (By Yang Shu-min, Lin Meng-ju, Sofia Wu and Kendra Lin)


Updated : 2021-10-24 14:15 GMT+08:00