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Taipower to cut electricity rate discount for staff amid criticism

2012/04/13 18:10:40

Taipei, April 13 (CNA) State-owned Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) said Friday that it is cancelling preferential electricity prices for its staff from May 1 amid recent public outcry over electricity price hikes set to take effect in mid-May.

Each Taipower employee currently is given a monthly discount of some NT$82 (US$2.78) on their electricity bills, company spokesman Lee Hung-chou said at a news conference.

This amounts to a combined total of around NT$27 million per year for all the 2,700 Taipower staff, Lee added.

The company has been widely questioned on the lavish benefits it gives its employees after it announced increases in electricity prices, citing financial woes.

In response to the criticism, the company conducted a survey among its staff and made the decision after most of them agreed to the cancellation of their discounts, Lee said.

A total of 7.87 million of 11.42 million households in Taiwan, or 61 percent, will have to pay more for electricity from May 15, when the average 16.9 percent increase in rates takes effect, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang said a day earlier.

Households that use less than 120 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month of electricity will actually see a decrease in their bills, while those in the 121-135 kWh range will not be subject to any increase, according to the new rate structure.

Electricity rates for commercial purposes will jump by about 30 percent, with a rise of around 35 percent for industrial electricity, according to Shih.

The consumer price index this year has been forecast to rise by 0.46 percentage points due to the electricity price hikes, while the gross domestic product has been predicted to fall by 0.26 percentage points, according to Jerry Ou, director-general of the Bureau of Energy under the ministry.

(By Lin Meng-ju, Huang Chiao-wen and Kendra Lin)