Tue, Mar 20, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Government mulls hike to electricity prices, Shih says

Staff Writer, with CNA

The government is still considering whether it should raise electricity prices, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said yesterday.

Shih said that if the government decided to raise electricity prices, it would need to make an announcement and hold a meeting of the price advisory committee for state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) at least one month before any adjustment takes effect.

“We’re still studying the issue,” Shih said on the sidelines of a legislative hearing. “So far, we have no plans to initiate this procedure.”

Shih said his ministry would also review personnel costs at state-run companies, but added that these costs accounted for only a small proportion of the state-run power and oil companies’ total operational budgets.

By contrast, “fuel costs account for 70 percent of total electricity production costs, while crude oil costs account for 80 percent of the total oil production costs,” he said.

Taiwan depends on imports for nearly all of its oil.

The issue of whether electricity and fuel prices should be adjusted upward recently triggered debate in the legislature after Taipower projected a deficit of NT$75.5 billion (US$2.56 billion) this year, which it said could end up being more than NT$100 billion because of rising fuel costs.

State-run CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油), is currently absorbing costs of NT$5.4 per liter for gasoline and NT$5.5 per liter for diesel. This would translate to an approximate annual shortfall of NT$12 billion for the company, the ministry said.

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