Fri, Jun 01, 2018 - Page 12 News List

New electricity pricing policy eyed

INDUSTRIAL USERS:Shen assured firms that the policy would only go into effect when the power supply is extremely low and would not affect business operations

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday said it is assessing a new electricity pricing policy for industrial users amid renewed concern over possible power shortages.

The policy would take into account local industrial development and would not have a significant effect on companies’ manufacturing and shipments, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) told legislators.

Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) in April suggested adopting a “carrot-and-stick” pricing mechanism that requires heavy industrial users to reduce power use when the nation’s operating reserve margin falls to a certain level, while offering incentives to those who meet requirements.

However, the policy would only go into effect when the nation is facing an extremely tight power supply, Shen said.

The ministry is still collecting feedback from business leaders and the policy draft has yet to be finalized, Shen said, without providing a detailed timetable.

To ensure a stable power supply, the ministry has asked state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) to thoroughly investigate the cause of a temporary power outage in Miaoli County on Wednesday afternoon, Shen said.

The temporary shutdown was triggered by sensors at a natural gas-fired power plant in Tongsiao Township (通霄), affecting about 70,000 households, Taipower said in a statement.

While the incident was attributed to an electric bus failure, Shen said that Taipower should ensure effective internal controls and clarify doubts concerning potential human error.

Power consumption yesterday peaked at 2:03pm at 36.71 gigawatts (GW), the second-highest level in history for the day, while the operating reserve was at a relatively low level of 3.9 percent, or 1.43GW, Taipower data showed.

The consumption level was second-highest so far this year, the data showed.

However, the nation’s power supply reading is forecast to return to “yellow” today, as the operating reserve margin increases to 6.89 percent, Taipower said.

Peak consumption is estimated to reach 35.5GW today, it added.

Under the utility’s five-color monitoring system, “green” indicates an operating reserve margin of more than 10 percent, “yellow” means power reserves are between 6 and 10 percent, and “orange” represents reserves of less than 6 percent.

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