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Sizzling temps send power use in Taiwan to all-time high

Taiwan Power issues red alert as power usage hits a record high on Tuesday

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Sizzling temps send power use in Taiwan to all-time high

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Scorching hot weather on Tuesday forced Taiwan's residents to crank up the air conditioning resulting in a record peak usage of 36,266,000 kilowatts (kW) at 1:54 p.m. that day.

As Taipei hit a searing 37 degrees, demand for power was so high that Taiwan's reserve margin plummeted to 624,000 kilowatts, or a razor-thin 1.72 percent of the total electricity produced. On Monday, when Taipei's high temperature soared to 38.5 degrees, power reserves started to rapidly decline and the state-run electricity company Taiwan Power Co. was forced to issue a red alert for the first time this year, which will stay in effect until Friday.

Reserves dropped to only 124,000 kilowatts of the 500,000 kilowatts level when a black alert would have to be issued, which would mean power rationing would be implemented in Taiwan for the first time since 2002. If such rationing goes into effect, companies which use more than 5,000 kilowatts will have their power limited by up to 15 percent.

Compounding the problem, Taiwan's electricity reserves were cut when a transmission tower operated by independent power producer Ho-Ping Power Co. ( (和平電力 ) was blown to the ground by Typhoon Nesat on July 29.

The power transmission tower's collapse reduced supply by 1.3 million kilowatts, or about 4 percent of the country's operating reserves. Repairs are expected to be completed by Aug.14.

To cope with a tighter power supply in the interim, the Cabinet called for air conditioners in public buildings to be turned off between the peak consumption hours of 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. starting on July 31. Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung ( 徐國勇 ) on Tuesday said the Executive Yuan's temporary restriction may be lifted by this Sunday, but will maintain its request that air conditioning thermostats be set at 28 degrees Celsius.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fuu (楊偉甫) on Tuesday said he expected the Talin power plant No. 1 generator in Kaohsiung, which was originally scheduled to begin operation in February next year, to start on Tuesday so that it can contribute 200,000 kW of its 800,000 kilowatts electricity capacity the following day.