Tue, May 08, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Transparency and morale to be new Taipower focus

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球), the newly designated chairman of Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), said yesterday that his priorities would be boosting transparency and morale once his appointment takes effect.

Hwang, who will retain his post at the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) until he is eligible for retirement, added that he would do everything he could to address concerns about the state-run utility firm.

“I will not shirk the tough challenges that come with the job,” Hwang said of his appointment, following public criticism of the company in the wake of a government plan to increase electricity prices to ease the firm’s financial difficulties.

However, he dismissed suggestions the company is in need of a drastic makeover.

“The key lies in how to boost employee morale” which has been severely undermined following criticism of the company’s pricing, procurement and personnel compensation policies, he said.

Those concerns will be at the top of a list of priorities when he takes over at Taipower, Hwang said, adding that he did not know when the Cabinet would formally approve his appointment.

Taipower is being pressed to cut coal procurement costs and revise contracts with local independent power producers (IPPs), which critics say has imposed a greater burden on the company than the unchanged electricity prices since 20008.

Hwang said that some of the criticisms of the company stem from misunderstandings and that under his leadership the decisionmaking process at Taipower would be more transparent and more effort would be made to communicate with the public

Taipower spends about NT$90 billion (US$3.08 billion) a year on coal and NT$140 billion a year buying electricity from IPPs, state-owned Enterprise Commission executive director Liu Ming-chung (劉明忠) said recently.

A ministry-organized task force is expected to deliver a report next month on how the company can improve its overall efficiency.

Taipower has accumulated NT$132.2 billion in net losses as of the end of February and is expected to incur an additional NT$10 billion in losses a month, if electricity prices remain at the current level, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said last month.

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