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COST OF LIVING/Residential electricity rates set to rise in April after review: Taipower

02/29/2024 06:14 PM
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Outdoor air conditioning units. CNA file photo
Outdoor air conditioning units. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 29 (CNA) The state-owned Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) said on Thursday that it will recommend raising residential electricity rates for the first time in 20 years to a government-convened price review committee.

Taipower spokesperson Tsai Chih-meng (蔡志孟) told the media on the sidelines of an event in Taipei on Thursday that those who use up to 330 kilowatt hours (kWh) a month should expect to see their rates rise after a price review scheduled for March.

The review committee consists of representatives from government agencies -- including the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which oversees the state-owned utility power company -- as well as industrial and commercial groups, and academics.

The residential electricity rate for monthly consumption under 330 kWh has not been changed since 2004, Tsai said, adding that the rate for the first 120 kWh per month was even lowered from NT$2.1 per kWh to the current NT$1.63 in 2015.

"This does not reflect the [power generation] cost and should be adjusted," Tsai said, adding the company is to provide its calculations to the committee.

Though already bearing several hikes in the previous reviews, the industrial electricity price -- the average of which now stands at NT$3.38 per kWh -- is also set to rise, Tsai said.

In July 2022, the MOEA had raised power prices for industrial consumers by 15 percent, and in April 2023 by 17 percent, all the while when the residential rate remained unchanged.

Thomas Wu (吳東亮), chairman of Taiwan's Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, said on Tuesday that the group "understands" the need for the state-owed power company to raise the electricity rates.

"If the power-generating cost is increasing as a whole, we need to be fair and all power users have to pay accordingly," Tsai said.

When asked how much the rates are expected to be raised, Tsai said it will be left for the review committee to determine, and "the committee has always taken into account all the relevant factors such as how it might affect [the country's] productivity and the consumer price index."

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is set to convene the review committee in March to discuss possible adjustments to the electricity rates. The price, according to the Electricity Act, is reviewed twice a year by the committee and the adjusted price is introduced in April and October.

Taipower reported losses of NT$226.5 billion in 2022, followed by further losses of NT$198.5 billion in 2023, resulting in a total accumulated loss of approximately NT$382.5 billion over the two years, after deducting a government subsidy of NT$50 billion granted in 2023, according to a report made by Deputy Economics Minister Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生) in mid-January.

(By Alison Hsiao)

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