Sat, Nov 03, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Price of water, electricity will not rise

FACING FACTS Premier Chang Chun-hsiung said rising oil prices would inevitably impact on households, so the Cabinet adopted measures to diminish the effect

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The price of water, electricity, liquified petroleum gas, fuel oil and natural gas will remain unchanged to buffer the impact of surging oil prices on households, stores and small and medium businesses, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said yesterday.

From yesterday, CPC Corporation, Taiwan's (台灣中油) prices for gasoline and diesel were NT$0.9 per liter higher than last month, bringing the price of 92-octane unleaded gasoline to NT$30 per liter, that of 95-octane unleaded gasoline to NT$30.7 per liter, that of 98-octane unleaded gas to NT$32.2 per liter, and that of super diesel to NT$27.5 per liter.

Chang said because the adjustment of oil prices would inevitably impact on households and businesses, the Cabinet had adopted the measures to diminish the negative effect by not increasing the price rates for fuel oil, natural gas, bottled gas, water and electricity.

FLOATING MECHANISM

Speaking in defense of the floating oil price mechanism that reflects the surge in oil prices in the international market, Chang said that adjusting domestic gasoline and diesel prices in accordance with the mechanism was the option that "has the least impact on the most people."

Chang said Taipower was expected to suffer a loss of NT$25 billion (US$769.7 million) this year if the price of electricity was not raised, but the government would absorb the loss for the sake of stabilizing commodity prices.

Chang said that he had also instructed the Ministry of Finance to halve the import duties of staple commodities to curb inflation and had asked the Ministry of Justice and the Fair Trade Commission to look into any suspected cases of price manipulation.

Accompanied by Vice Premier Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), Cabinet Secretary-General Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) and Cabinet Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉), Chang called a press conference to announce the measures.

TASK FORCE

Chiou -- in charge of a Cabinet task force created to look into measures to keep the general level of commodity prices constant -- said that the first meeting of the task force would be held next Tuesday.

On the agenda will be a review of the ceiling on oil prices and the the weighted system that determines the local prices of gasoline, he said.

Under the current floating oil price mechanism, the government is required to freeze the price of oil if it reaches 15 percent higher than the price registered on Sept. 2.

Additional reporting by CNA

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