Wed, Jul 28, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Taipower's new chairman steps in

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lin Ching-chi (林清吉), former president of state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), yesterday officially took over the company's chairmanship, saying that dealing with surging fuel costs must be his highest priority.

Coal prices have rocketed from US$26 per metric tonne to US$62 per tonne, Lin said.

The surging fuel costs have been nibbling away at the nation's sole electricity provider's profits starting in the second half of last year, he said.

"We will try to maintain power rates at current levels at least for the next three months," Lin, 63, said after the inauguration ceremony.

While Taipower has been trying to bring down costs, Lin said that if the fuel costs continue to increase, the company may have to adjust electricity prices.

In the long term, Lin anticipates that completing the construction of the nation's fourth nuclear power plant and the capacity enhancement project for the Datan Power plant in Taichung will help achieve steady power supply.

Former Taipower chairman Lin Neng-pai (林能白), meanwhile, yesterday took over as chairman of another state-run enterprise, Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar, 台糖).

Lin Neng-pai took the position over from Kong Jaw-sheng (龔照勝) after the latter was appointed to head the the newly established Financial Supervisory Commission early this month.

Taisugar, 96.6 percent owned by the government, has been losing money in its main businesses of sugar, gas stations and convenience stores, but its annual financial reports still look good because of land sales from its massive holdings.

The state-run company is the nation's largest landowner, with 54,657 hectares.

The new chairman said he hopes to carry out established company policies such as reducing the workforce, developing competitive products and utilizing the company's land assets well.

"I'll run the state-owned company like a private company, hoping to create more profit for Taisugar and its employees," said Lin Neng-pai, 51, who holds a doctorate in management from Ohio State University.

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