The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday said it would announce an electricity rate refund plan before the end of this month to share Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower, 台電) NT$9 billion (US$287 million) profit with the public in the first electricity bills next year.
“The profits saved from the decline in global oil prices will be returned to about 12 million households, including small shops, across the nation,” Minister of Economic Affairs John Deng (鄧振中) said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Economics Committee at the legislature in Taipei.
Deng said every household would receive a refund of between NT$750 and NT$800 in the first bills, regardless of its electricity usage.
Industrial users are not included in the refund scheme, he said.
Deng previously insisted that the refund scheme would only be carried out once a new power rate formula has been approved by the legislature.
However, his stance changed after Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) last week said the two issues could be handled separately.
The Economics Committee yesterday made a non-binding resolution to hold a public hearing over the pricing formula on Thursday next week, with Deng saying he agrees with a proposal by lawmakers to invite domestic experts to discuss the formula.
Deng also said he would follow a suggestion by lawmakers to remove the “reconstruction cost” from the formula.
Given that Taipower has an accumulated debt of NT$208.4 billion, when the utility proposed the new pricing formula last year, it added reconstruction costs into the formula in an attempt to repay the debt.
Lawmakers, including Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), said that it was unreasonable for the state-owned utility to include reconstruction cost in the formula, because the formula already contains a “reasonable profit” that Taipower estimates it can earn for the year.
“Taipower should not ‘double-charge’ the public,” Huang said, adding that the utility can slowly make up its accumulated losses through improved management and other operational adjustments.
Deng responded by saying: “I think the lawmakers’ opinions are accurate. The ministry will remove the reconstruction cost item from the formula.”
Taipower chairman Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球), who also attended the meeting, said the utility would repay its debt by earmarking a certain amount of its annual earnings in accordance with the Company Act (公司法).
The ministry intends to adjust electricity rates once every six months to reflect power generation costs after the formula is approved by the legislature, Deng said.
Separately, CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) president Paul Chen (陳綠蔚) said CPC plans to cut NT$60 from its wholesale price for a 20kg household gas cylinder next month because of the decline in international oil prices.
However, retail prices will be subject to gas distributors’ pricing decisions, he said.
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
NERVOUS MARKET: With the infection sources still unknown for three COVID-19 cases that had departed Taiwan, investors have become uneasy, an analyst said Local shares yesterday came under heavy downward pressure, falling more than 1 percent as renewed fears over a possible increase in domestic COVID-19 infections hit market sentiment after the nation last week reported a case related to a Belgian national. Selling focused on the bellwether electronics sector, led by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), which pushed down the broader market as investors ignored gains posted by tech heavyweights on the US market at the end of last week, dealers said. The TAIEX closed down 151.77 points, or 1.2 percent, at 12,513.03, on turnover of NT$231.43 billion (US$7.84 billion). Foreign