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State-run power company needs to boost morale: minister

2012/05/07 19:22:44

Taipei, May 7 (CNA) Vice Economics Minister Hwang Jung-chiou, who is set to become the new head of the state-run power company, listed stabilizing the current situation and boosting morale within the nation's sole power supplier as top priorities.

Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) has come under heavy attack recently and the morale of employees has thus been influenced, Hwang told reporters after a hearing at the Legislature.

"It is the company itself that is going to solve the problems, so boosting morale is the first priority," he said.

The company's operations have come under close public scrutiny since the government announced in early April that electricity rates will be raised substantially in May to help the company offset its mounting losses.

A number of critics have contended that some of the company's losses are due to poor management and bloated pay scales, and that consumers and the private sector should not have to pay for Taipower's waste and inefficiency.

Hwang said although a formal announcement of the appointment has not yet been made, he has acceded to Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang's request that he take over from Edward Chen as Taipower chairman.

Lawmakers from across party lines expressed concern at the legislative hearing about Hwang's ability to adapt to the new challenges in such a short time.

In response, Hwang expressed confidence in himself and said he will "cautiously handle and continue the reforms of the company."

The company will undertake the reforms that have been heavily criticized, he said, adding that he will also do his utmost to help the company communicate with the public.

"What should be explained will be, as will any topic that should be transparent," he said.

(By James Lee)