Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Minister touts amendments to Electricity Act

SPLIT UP:The government is mulling the feasibility of splitting Taipower into two businesses: one for power generation and the other for power distribution

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is to hold two public hearings to discuss proposed amendments to the Electricity Act (電業法) before it sends the draft to the Executive Yuan for deliberation next week, a top official said yesterday.

“We drafted the outlines and articles of the proposed revisions on Wednesday and hope to send it to the Cabinet before the end of this month,” Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung (李世光) told a news conference.

The Executive Yuan aims to complete the review of the amendments and forward them to the Legislative Yuan before the start of a new legislative session in September, according to ministry officials who are familiar with the matter.

The ministry has been working on the draft amendments since the new government took office on May 20, in an effort to privatize the electricity industry and help develop a “green energy industry,” officials said.

Lee said the government has been mulling the feasibility of splitting state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) into two businesses: one in charge of power generation and the other of power transmission and distribution.

Details of the planned split are still under discussion, he said.

Lee said the government plans to maintain the power distribution business as a state-run company “for the time being” to ensure stable power supply.

The power distribution business would be banned from operating power generation plants to avoid conflict of interests after the nation’s electricity industry is privatized, Lee said.

The amendments would also promote deregulation of privately owned power companies, Lee said, adding that power companies could sell their electricity directly to households or industrial users.

At present, privately run power companies can only sell their electricity to Taipower, according to the Electricity Act.

To reduce potential impact from the privatization of the power industry, Lee said that in the first year after the amendments are passed, the government would only separate the accounting of the power generation and power distribution businesses.

After that, the government plans to complete within three years the division of the operations of the power generation and distribution businesses, he said.

Commenting on the ministry’s progress on developing a “green” energy industry, Lee said the ministry had asked all state-run companies to calculate the size of their idle land for solar power generation.

For instance, China Steel Corp (中鋼) has a total of 80 hectares of rooftops at its manufacturing plants in Kaohsiung, which could be installed with solar power systems, Lee said, without elaborating.

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