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Taiwan set to hike electricity prices, industry blamed for record use

Taiwan has one of world's lowest electricity rates, according to 2020 figures

Air conditioning equipment in a building in Taipei.

Air conditioning equipment in a building in Taipei. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has hinted at a rise in Taiwan’s electricity prices as environmental activists call on industry to shoulder the burden of increased costs.

Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said a committee will convene on Monday (June 27) to discuss the issue and “reasonably reflect” the surging cost of energy globally, wrote CNA. The move follows record-breaking use of electricity in Taiwan and concerns aired by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan about the country’s water and energy supplies.

Taiwan saw the consumption of 283 billion kWh of energy in 2021, up 4.3% yearly and the highest in a decade. Industrial use accounted for 57% and users are charged at one of the lowest rates in the world.

The rate for industrial use in Taiwan was the sixth lowest in the world in 2020, after Sweden, the U.S., Denmark, Finland, and Hungary, according to the Environmental Information Center. A group of environmental organizations including the Green Citizens’ Action Alliance and Citizen of the Earth on Thursday (June 23) urged the industrial sector to pay more.

Taiwan added another 16.4 billion kWh in three years from 2018, the last time electricity prices were adjusted. Of this, 76% of use was attributed to industry, meaning the sector has long enjoyed the dividends of low energy rates but failed to address the environmental cost, the environmentalists argued.

They blamed the industrial world for disproportionate investment in energy conservation measures. They also called on the government to assist in the phasing-out of low-energy-efficiency equipment and to carry out campaigns that cut idle electricity consumption.

Meanwhile, the environmental community said supporting measures should be put in place to help disadvantaged households that are left vulnerable by rising energy bills.