Taiwan’s energy operating reserve margin yesterday dropped to a 10-year low of 2.46 percent due to a breakdown of four power generation units, state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said.
The operating reserve plunged from an estimated 1.58 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) to only 860,000kWh, prompting speculation about the possibility of a power shortages in the coming days or weeks.
“If the operating reserve drops to below 500,000kWh, or 1.5 percent of the energy operating reserve margin, the government would first apply power-rationing measures on industrial users with large electricity consumption,” Bureau of Energy Director Lee Chun-li (李君禮) told a news conference.
If the energy operating margin drops below 1.5 percent, the government would form an emergency task force, led by Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), to carry out the power rationing, Lee said.
The task force is mulling a cut of between 5 percent and 15 percent of electricity supply for more than 2,700 industrial users, including 600 manufacturers that use more than 5,000kWh of power per month, Lee said.
Taipower contacted the 2,700 industrial users at the end of May, informing them of the possibility of facing electricity rationing between last month and September, he said.
If the nation still faces a power shortage after implementing measures to lower electricity supply to the 2,700 industrial users, the government would broaden the rationing measures to all users, including household users, on a daily rotation basis, he added.
Taipower official Lan Hong-wei (籃宏偉) said three electricity generation units in different power plants — two privately owned power plants and one operated by Taipower — yesterday encountered steam-pipe leaks mainly due to high temperatures.
As the steam pipes are decades old, their conditions are vulnerable to hot weather, he said.
Elsewhere, a voltage transformer in the Taipower-owned Sinda power plant in Kaohsiung broke down yesterday, Lan said.
Fixing the pipe leaks and the failed voltage transformer would take about one week, he said.
However, the nation’s energy operating reserve margin is likely to rise today, as one of the power generation units in the Tongxiao natural gas-fired power plant is to complete an annual examination and resume operations today, Lan added.
In addition to the Taichung Power Plant running at full production capacity, Taipower expects the electricity operating reserve to increase to an estimated 1 million kWh, with the operating reserve margin rising to 3.11 percent, he said.
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