Taipei, April 27 (CNA) The paper industry suggested Friday that the government reconsider the scale of electricity price hikes to be introduced May 15 and to implement them in phases to lower the impact on the sector.
With rates for industrial use set to rise by over 35 percent on average, the Taiwan Paper Industry Association issued a press release saying that paper companies' overall costs will increase 6 to 8 percent as a result.
Noting that the international pulp prices have been rising over the past four months, Chung Hung-chih, chairman of Yuen Foong Yu Paper Manufacturing Co., said during a press conference in the Legislature that the hikes will affect clients and consumers and cause consumer price fluctuations.
Chen Chih-liang, chairman of the Ching Mai Paper Co., also criticized the larger scale of rate hikes during off-peak hours such as evenings, than during peak hours, since businesses have followed a previous suggestion by the government to operate outside peak hours and have invested in equipment accordingly.
According to the association, the highest increase in rates is as much as 60 to 67 percent for certain categories of ultra-high voltage electricity outside peak hours.
Wang Yunn-ming, deputy director-general of the Bureau of Energy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, who also attended the press conference, said the ministry has dispatched a group of experts to help businesses save energy and will provide financial assistance to companies to help them buy energy-efficient equipment.
Meanwhile, Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said on a different occasion that the ministry will discuss the paper industry's suggestions, but pointed out that despite the hikes, electricity prices outside peak hours will still be lower than the cost of generating power.
Also that day, Taiwan Power Co. Chairman Edward Chen said at a news conference that despite the larger scale of hikes in rates outside peak hours in terms of percentage, gaps in the rates between peak hours and off-peak hours are actually larger, meaning that prices are still much cheaper outside peak hours.
(By Chao Hsiao-hui, Chen Wei-ting, Yang Chia-ning and Kay Liu)