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Power outages possible May 20-28: officials

2015/04/16 21:12:27

Taipei, April 16 (CNA) Power supply is expected to reach a new low from May 20-28, with the electricity reserve margin at some 3.3 percent daily and the looming possibility of power cuts or power supply limitations, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) officials said Thursday.

With rising power demand amid an economic recovery, higher temperatures this spring, power plant annual maintenance in May, and hydraulic power plants suffering low water levels in Taiwan's worst drought in decades, power supply will be strained from May 20-28, the MOEA said.

After these power plants' yearly maintenance is completed, the reserve margin is expected to be 7.2 percent in June, according to the ministry.

The state-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower, 台電) has set the reserve margin limit at 6 percent, dropping below that number would trigger an alert, the ministry said.

Once the reserve margin decreases to zero or negative, power will be cut for 50 minutes on a rotating basis, starting with large industrial users, followed by small and medium-sized enterprises, and then household users, Taipower said on Wednesday.

Seven power plants, including hydraulic, nuclear and thermal, have been scheduled for yearly maintenance in May, with the total electricity capacity at some 3,318 megawatts, said Wu Yu-chen (吳玉珍), deputy director-general of the Energy Bureau of the MOEA, on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, many private power plants have also planned annual maintenance in May, Wu said. Many power plants tend to undergo yearly maintenance in May or September, since electricity peaks usually occur in the summer months from June-August.

In anticipation of the looming possibility of power cuts, Economics Minister John Deng (鄧振中) said postponement of the power plants' yearly maintenance and energy conservation are ways to lessen the potential strain on the power grid.

If large industrial users can reduce 1 percent of Taiwan's total electricity consumption and commercial and household users cut back another 1 percent, then 1.9 billion kilowatts hour of power can be conserved, which is the equivalent to one of the two reactors of the nation’s first nuclear power plant.

Currently the more pressing problem for Hsinchu Science Park (HSP) is water conservation, Director-General of the HSP Bureau Tu Chi-hsiang (杜啟祥) told reporters.

However, in the long run "the issue of electricity will be more serious than that of water" and "power supply will become a significant challenge in the future," said Tu.

(By Chen Wei-ting, Milly Lin, Huang Chiao-wen and Kuo Chung-han)