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Small users may be excluded from electricity rate hike: Cabinet

Small users may be excluded from electricity rate hike: Cabinet

Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) Special consideration will be given to low-consumption users in the second phase of an electricity rate hike that is scheduled to take effect in October, the Cabinet said Wednesday. The government is considering excluding low-consumption households and small businesses from the electricity rate hike, or allowing only a slight increase for them, according to Cabinet Secretary-General Chen Wei-zen. Chen made the remarks after Premier Jiang Yi-huah said in an interview on UDN TV Tuesday that a reasonable increase in electricity rates should be implemented since the state-run Taiwan Power Co. has so far kept rates at a relatively low level that does not reflect its costs. The government is likely to decide on a slight increase in average power rates in the second phase of its electricity rate hike plan, after reviewing the power consumption patterns of residential units, small businesses and industries, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). People's livelihood, the economic situation and Taipower's finances will also be taken into consideration, the ministry said. Taipower spokesman Lee Hung-chou said the company has not yet received a clear directive and therefore has not formulated any measures. The plan, however, is expected to be finalized by the end of the month. On the issue of Taipower's finances, Lee said Formosa Plastics Group's Mailiao Power Corp. and Taiwan Cement's Hoping Power Co. have agreed to lower their selling price of electricity, while seven private power companies have agreed to a price cut. This means all nine independent power producers that sell electricity to Taipower have agreed to revise their contracts to cut power prices, he said. The move will save Taipower NT$1.54 billion a year, he added. Taipower suffered NT$35.2 billion in losses in the first seven months this year, which brought its cumulative loss to NT$228.8 billion. However, with higher electricity prices and lower power consumption in summer, Taipower earned NT$600 million in July. The MOEA is implementing a three-phase electricity rate hike plan, with the first stage that took effect in June 2012 accounting for 40 percent of the total planned increase. The second phase, set to take effect in October, will involve raising average electricity prices by 9.64 percent, industrial electricity prices by 11.49 percent, commercial usage rates by 10.04 percent and household prices by 4.57 percent, according to the MOEA. It was estimated that about two-thirds of households and one-third of small businesses that use less than 330 kwh of electricity per month would not be affected by the price hike, according to the MOEA plan. (By Lee Shu-hua, Lin Meng-ju and Y.L. Kao)


Updated : 2021-02-28 06:38 GMT+08:00