Fri, Dec 02, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Experts pan Electricity Act proposal

PRIVATIZATION PUSH:At a public hearing, critics said the proposed amendment was unduly focused on the ‘green’ energy sector, rather than across-the-board liberalization

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

The Legislative Yuan’s Economics Committee held its first public hearing on a proposed amendment to the Electricity Act (電業法) yesterday, after the Executive Yuan submitted it to the legislature on Oct. 20.

The proposed amendment aims to gradually liberalize the electricity industry and help to develop the nation’s renewable energy industry.

At the hearing in Taipei, National Taipei University professor of economics Wang To-far (王塗發) said the Executive Yuan should withdraw the amendment and redraft it, as the scale of the liberalization is too small to make an impact on the industry.

Wang is a strong advocate for the liberalization of the local power industry, saying that state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) should separate its power generation and electricity distribution businesses to provide private operators with the leeway to participate in the domestic energy business.

However, under the Executive Yuan’s amendment, Taipower is to be divided into two companies within six to nine years, to separate power generation and electricity distribution.

Wang said that the government measures aim to do too little, too slowly.

“What kind of reform is this?” Wang asked.

Other participants also criticized the proposed amendment for being mainly focused on the “green” energy sector, rather than an across-the-board liberalization to deregulate the nation’s energy industry.

According to the draft amendment, “green” energy firms would be allowed to sell and transmit electricity to users directly, with the price to be decided by market mechanisms.

Tang Hui-lin (唐慧琳), a research assistant at the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) National Policy Foundation think tank, said that lawmakers should return the draft amendment to the Executive Yuan because it is not complete.

National Tsing Hua University Institute of Law for Science and Technology associate professor Anton Gao (高銘志) said he agrees that the government should amend the Electricity Act, but it should also revise the Renewable Energy Development Act (再生能源條例) to better help develop the “green” energy industry.

The Economics Committee decided to hold a second public hearing on Monday after four hours of heated discussion.

The committee would not start reviewing the amendment until it judges that no more public hearings are required, committee convener Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said.

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