Lai tells Taipower to prepare for storm

EASING PRESSURE::Taipower chairman Chu Wen-chen said additional power would be added to the grid by new generators, but urged the public to conserve energy

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 12

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday urged Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) to be alert and prepare properly for potential power supply disruptions that might be caused by Typhoon Talim, in a bid to prevent nationwide blackouts.

“We could have avoided the Aug. 15 nationwide blackouts if Taipower, CPC Corp, Taiwan [CPC, 台灣中油] and privately owned power plants had communicated and coordinated well,” Lai told a news conference at Taipower’s headquarters in Taipei.

It was his first visit to the state-run utility since being sworn in as premier on Friday last week.

The Cabinet will work closely with Taipower to ensure the safety and stability of the power supply while the nation transforms its energy structure, Lai said.

As a state-run power supplier, Taipower plays a major role in supporting the nation’s economic growth, he said.

“The public and industries will lose faith in the government if Taiwan faces power rationing or outages from time to time,” Lai said.

Taipower should inspect and maintain the condition of infrastructure for the supply of electricity, such as transmission towers and lines nationwide, on a regular basis, he said.

“I know it is easy to neglect the details when such inspections become routine... I hope Taipower officials will pay more attention to such work,” Lai said.

Regardless of if Taipower is initiating annual maintenance of existing power plants, extending their operating life or building new facilities, the state-run company complete its work on schedule, he said.

Taipower chairman Chu Wen-chen (朱文成) said the nation’s power supply is expected to grow slightly next year, as many of the utility’s new generators became operational over the past month.

Trials of the new generators, such as a new ultra-supercritical power generator at a coal-fired power plant in Kaohsiung’s Dalin Township (大林), have been smooth so far, he added.

However, he called on the public to conserve energy as much as possible.

“It will be a problem if the pace of power demand growth is faster than Taipower’s installation of new generators,” Chu said.

In related news, Lai said the Executive Yuan has not discussed a potential candidate to take over as Taipower chairman.

Chu has performed well, Lai said, adding that he hopes Chu will continue to lead the state-run utility after he turns 65, the legal retirement age, in November.

Lai’s remarks followed a report by the Chinese-language United Daily News, which said former vice premier Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) is expected to take over after Chu’s retirement.