No date set for electricity price hikes: energy bureau

Taipei -- - The Ministry of Economic Affairs MOEA is mulling plans to increase electricity prices but has no timetable for doing so, the Bureau of Energy s

Asked if a price hike will take effect in May as reported in the local media, the bureau's deputy director-general Wang Yunn-ming said at a press conference that the plan is still being reviewed and the MOEA has no timeframe for its implementation.

The issue was raised after Wu Tsai-yi, president of Taiwan Research Institute and an independent board member of Taiwan Power Co. Taipower, said Monday that the MOEA is considering raising electricity prices twice this year, which will result in an overall 20 percent hike.

The proposal has been submitted to the Cabinet for approval, Wu was quoted as saying in the local media.

Taipower Vice President Huang Hsien-chang said that largely because of rising fuel prices in the past three years, the state-run company has incurred losses of NT$117.9 billion US$3.9 billion since 2006 and will lose an estimated NT$110 billion this year.

Taipower "cannot survive" unless electricity prices are raised, he said.

The last electricity price hike was in October 2008 and even then, it reflected only half of the rising costs, Huang said.

Since then, the price of coal has risen 53 percent and natural gas 25 percent, which has largely wiped out any gains, he said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party DPP legislative caucus convener Chen Ting-fei called on Taipower to come up with a plan to improve its operation and to make its fuel purchasing prices more transparent.


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