Taipei, May 6 (CNA) The Ministry of Economic Affairs has proposed a second round of subsidies for electrical appliances in the run-up to a first-stage hike in electricity rates scheduled for June, according to an economics official.
The proposal, which has already been submitted to the Cabinet, will provide a rebate of NT$2,000 (US$68.36) for every energy-saving air conditioner or television set purchased, the official said.
The new subsidy plan differs from a previous one implemented in the first quarter of the year in terms of the subsidy items covered. Refrigerators and washing machines, which were subsidized before, are no longer to be included because the ministry does not want the public to see the program as a standing measure, the official added.
If consumers buy these appliances only when government subsidies are available, it could harm the market, the official noted.
The program puts priority on appliances that are more high energy-consuming in the summer, said the official, citing statistics that air conditioners account for an average of 33 percent of the electricity usage per household in the summer season.
As for televisions, the official said they were included because they have never previously been subsidized and also, many households might be replacing their old sets with digital ones, as Taiwan will fully replace all analog TV transmissions with digital signals starting from July 1.
Once approved, the Bureau of Energy will send details of the program to the ministry before an official announcement about it will be released, according to the official.
"It is likely, but we'll have to work pretty hard" to have the program ready for release later this week, the official said.
The estimated budget for the second phase of the program is NT$700 million, but the final amount will be decided by the Cabinet, the official added.
(By Huang Chiao-wen and Kendra Lin)