Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Electricity rates to rise today as planned: MOEA

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The government decided yester-day to stick to its June decision to raise electricity rates again today, though Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) had told a Democratic Pro-gressive Party (DPP) lawmaker earlier in the day that he would ask the Ministry of Economic Af-fairs to review the decision.

Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) told a press conference the minis-try decided to increase the price of electricity by 12.5 percent today as scheduled. Shih said the Cabinet had not asked the ministry to re-consider the rate hike.

The ministry announced in June that residential electricity rates would increase by 12.6 percent on July 1, and 12.6 percent on Oct. 1. Media reports said households could expect to pay NT$60 more per month after today’s rate hike.

DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) asked the premier yester-day if the Executive Yuan would reconsider the electricity rate hike because the public was reeling from the rising cost of fuel and higher consumer prices.

“We will review the matter be-fore making a fi nal decision,” Liu said.

“The views of legislators will also be taken into consideration,” Liu added, saying that the Execu-tive Yuan has an energy task force that would “consider the situation on a daily basis.”

The first round of electricity price hikes only refl ected a quar-ter of rising fuel costs, Liu said, and now that the summertime peak electricity rates (between June 1 and Sept. 30) have ended, the second round of hikes would only cover less than half of the increased costs.

Liu said that when state-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) offered incentives to those who conserved energy during the peak summer period, 4 million house-holds actually paid less for elec-tricity than they had before the July 1 hike.

This proved that the govern-ment’s “multiple approach to deal-ing with rising energy costs has paid off,” he said.

After the July hike, Taipower’s losses fell from NT$15 billion (US$466 million) in July to NT$7.9 billion in August.

DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday that the government should not raise util-ity prices now because the public had already been hurt by infl ation.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JERRY LIN AND JIMMY CHUANG

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