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Heavyweights call for 'gradual, phased' hikes of electricity rates

Heavyweights call for 'gradual, phased' hikes of electricity rates

Taipei, April 30 (CNA) Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said Monday that in view of the possible impacts on a wide swath of society of a plan to raise electricity rates, he would suggest that the Cabinet slow down the plan and implement it in stages. Wang said Vice President Vincent Siew "largely agreed" to his proposal during a meeting of senior officials at the Presidential Office earlier in the day. As many people have voiced their opposition to a rapid rise of electricity rates, due to be in effect May 15, Wang said he had suggested that the government change its plan to raise the prices "in one step" and instead do so in a "gradual, phased" manner. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has announced that household electricity rates will increase by an average of 16.9 percent with effect from May 15. Commercial electricity rates will rise 30 percent, while industrial rates will increase by 35 percent, according to the announcement. Industrial groups have urged the government to raise the rates in stages, rather than as announced. The plan aims to bring down Taiwan Power Co.'s operation loss for this year to NT$15.2 billion, according to Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang. If nothing is done to reduce that shortfall, the power supplier will suffer an even greater deficit for 2012, he added. Now that people are calling for a change to the plan, Shih said his ministry, which oversees the state-run power supplier's operation, will reexamine its plan and "do an actuary's work" on it. He agreed to the need for Taipower to cut its operation costs, but said "any savings from such efforts" will only have "limited effects" on lowering its overall deficit. (By Ho Meng-kui, Huang Chiao-wen and S.C. Chang)


Updated : 2021-01-20 18:13 GMT+08:00