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Deputy economics minister sworn in as Taipower chairman

2012/05/15 19:54:44

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Deputy Economics Minister Hwang Jung-chiou said he would work to reform and improve the efficiency of state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) Tuesday, when he was sworn in as chairman of the country's sole power supplier.

Hwang, who takes over from Edward Chen, is expected to serve in his two posts concurrently before stepping down as deputy economics minister June 4.

Acknowledging the work done by his predecessor, Hwang contended that he will "cautiously handle and continue the reforms of the company."

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.

Despite many pundits describing Hwang's move as "jumping into a fiery pit," the new chairman dismissed the metaphor, saying that he will do his utmost to "pull the company together and fight with all the staff in these bad times."

The company will undertake the reforms that have been heavily criticized, he said, adding that he will also help the company communicate with the public by explaining what should be explained and making transparent any topic that should be open to public scrutiny.

Chen, who has been working for Taipower for nearly 40 years, praised his successor as being perfect for the post, expecting him to "lead the company out of its predicament."

Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang, who presided over the handing-over ceremony, also expressed confidence that Hwang can continue the company's reforms with his leadership expertise.

(By James Lee)