Sat, Apr 21, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Ministry starts energy-saving seminars

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday launched a series of nationwide seminars on energy-

saving practices as part of efforts to help businesses and individuals improve energy efficiency in order to bring down energy demand and cost.

“The era of low-energy prices is gone, as we are facing limited natural resources and asking for clean, safe energy,” Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said in Taipei at the first of the scheduled 56 seminars.

Taiwan’s energy efficiency is relatively low compared with Japan and European developed countries, Shih said, adding that he hoped the ministry could help the public and industries save more energy through the seminars.

In addition to forming a task force to provide different industries with professional energy-saving suggestions, the ministry announced a NT$100 billion (US$3.39 billion) loan for companies to replace old, less energy-efficient equipment.

If more companies are willing to apply for the loan to replace old equipment with more efficient devices, the ministry is willing to raise the credit line, Shih said.

The measure is expected to save 128,000 kiloliters of fuel annually, or NT$17 billion in expenditure, if the entire loan is used, according to the ministry.

For households, a government program that offers subsidies to people who buy certain types of energy-efficient home appliances will be extended, Shih said.

The subsidies are aimed at cutting energy consumption and encouraging people to replace old appliances with more efficient ones, he said.

The subsidy, introduced in January, will be extended following a government decision last week to raise electricity rates.

For the country’s 7.87 million households, electricity rates will rise by an average of 16.9 percent starting on May 15.

The home appliance subsidy program offers a NT$2,000 rebate per unit to people who bought energy-efficient air-conditioners, refrigerators or washing machines between Jan. 1 and March 31.

To date, applications for rebates on more than 310,000 units have been received and the number is expected to reach 320,000 units before the April 30 application deadline, the ministry said.

To avoid affecting home appliance sales, Shih declined to say when the new round of rebates would begin.

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