Thu, Sep 19, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Electricity rates to remain unchanged, ministry says

By Kwan Shin-han  /  Staff reporter

Electricity rates will remain unchanged at NT$2.6253 per kilowatt-hour for the next six months, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday, after a meeting of the electricity price review committee.

The committee cited softening coal and crude oil prices as reasons, with the price of natural gas slipping 2.9 percent last month from the previous month and falling another 5.06 percent this month, while coal and crude oil prices have continued to drop, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生) told a news conference in Taipei.

“Even though oil prices rose recently due to a drone attack in Saudi Arabia, prices are expected to fall in the long term, as Saudi Arabia said its production capacity should return to normal levels later this month,” Tseng said.

The committee has kept power rates unchanged since its last twice-yearly meeting in September last year.

The ministry did not comment on whether next year’s presidential election influenced the decision, but said that none of the committee members disagreed with it and state-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) did not suggest any rate changes.

Taipower is the nation’s largest electricity supplier and monopoly grid operator.

The company reported a net income of NT$8 billion (US$258.06 million) for last month, but posted net losses of NT$20.2 billion in the first eight months of the year, compared with losses of NT$12.7 billion a year earlier.

The ministry declined to give a forecast for Taipower’s financial results this year, but said the government would use the energy price stabilization fund to offset its losses, while ensuring that the company maintains a reasonable annual profit margin of 5 percent in a bid to pay off its accumulated losses of NT$129.4 billion as of July 31, it added.

The fund increased to NT$43.5 billion this month, from NT$41.7 billion in March, the ministry said.

In the first eight months of the year, 38.86 percent of the nation’s electricity came from coal, 37.33 percent from natural gas and 23.81 percent from crude oil and other sources, Taipower data showed.

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