Fri, Dec 05, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Taipower to keep prices steady despite cheaper oil

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) might have benefited from the recent plunge in global crude oil prices, but it has no plan to lower its electricity rates anytime soon, a company executive said yesterday.

“The company will review its electricity rates, but it is not likely to cut the price by January next year,” Taipower president Chu Wen-chen (朱文成) said while addressing the Legislative Yuan’s Economics Committee, where lawmakers were reviewing the company’s annual budget for next year.

Chu made the remark after lawmakers said the company could see its first profitable year since 2006 on the back of the recent fall in global crude oil prices.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) said that continually declining oil prices had massively lowered Taipower’s costs this year, allowing the company to earn a total of NT$18.1 billion (US$581.2 million) in profit during the first 10 months of the year.

“CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 中油) has cut its domestic fuel prices to reflect changes in international oil prices. Taipower should also lower the price of electricity,” Su said.

State-run CPC is one of the nation’s two oil refiners.

In response, Chu said Taipower has to monitor international energy prices, as they often fluctuate, noting that if CPC continues to cut natural gas prices next year, then Taipower would review its cost structure.

“Taipower will definitely adjust its prices and share the benefits with the people, if the company really earns a lot,” Chu said.

Taipower spokesman Roger Lee (李鴻洲) forecast the company’s profit for this year might reach NT$17 billion, attributing the performance to higher revenues registered from July to September this year, which were higher than the annual average because electricity consumption this summer hit a new record high.

However, because the company still faces an accumulated deficit of NT$208.4 billion this year, the estimated profit of NT$17 billion for the year is tiny compared with the years of losses, he added.

“Although the company is making profits this year, we still carry heavy losses accumulated from the past,” Lee said.

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