Sat, Aug 22, 2009 - Page 1 News List

MORAKOT: THE AFTERMATH: Fuel, water and electricity firms offer relief

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

The country’s petrochemical, water and electricity providers yesterday introduced a series of discounts for people affected by the devastation Typhoon Morakot has wrought in southern Taiwan.

CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) said they would start selling gasoline and diesel at reduced prices in the worst-stricken townships from today.

CPC said it would offer discounts of NT$2.5 per liter of gasoline and NT$1.5 per liter of diesel in the 20 most severely affected townships until Oct. 7, the state-run company said.

The cut-rate fuel will be offered at CPC’s 31 gas stations in the devastated parts of Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Chiayi, Nantou and Taitung counties. CPC has also frozen fuel prices in southern Taiwan until the end of next week.

The private-run Formosa Petrochemical Corp announced price cuts of NT$2.9 per liter of gasoline and NT$2 per liter of diesel in the disaster-ravaged areas.

CPC’s gasoline and diesel prices in the rest of the country will increase by NT$0.4 and NT$0.5 per liter respectively next week, down from planned increases of NT$0.8 and NT$1, CPC chairman Shih Yen-­shiang (施顏祥) said.

The state-run firm’s plans will result in three different price categories in the northern, central and southern regions.

For unaffected areas, CPC’s price for a liter of 98-octane unleaded gasoline will be NT$30.9 next week, while 95-octane unleaded gasoline will cost NT$29.4 and 92-octane unleaded gasoline will cost NT$28.7 per liter. The price of diesel will rise to NT$26.2 per liter.

“CPC is doing what it can in times of national distress, despite oil refineries recording a loss of NT$100 billion [US$3 billion],” Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) said at a media briefing.

The electricity bills of people living in areas where flood waters rose to a level of 0.5m or higher will be waived for two months, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said at the briefing.

“People rebuilding their homes will also have their power bills waived until Aug. 7, 2011, if their monthly usage is less than 330 consumption units in summer and less than 110 units in non-summer months,” Taipower chairman Chen Kuei-ming (陳貴明) said.

Taiwan Water Corp (TWC, 台灣自來水) president Chen Fu-tien (陳福田) said that people in areas where water levels exceeded 0.5m and whose water usage is less than 10 consumption units would not have to pay water bills until Oct. 7.

One consumption unit is 100 cubic feet or about 2 kiloliters of water.

The water and power concessions for qualified consumers will be retroactive to Aug. 8.

Meanwhile, Yiin said he had not approved Water Resources Agency (WRA) Director-General Chen Shen-hsien’s (陳伸賢) offer to resign to shoulder responsibility for public criticism of the government’s reaction to the mudslides and flooding that had been triggered by the typhoon.

“At this point, it is extremely important that the WRA completes the tasks at hand before we start worrying about who the responsible parties were,” Yiin said.

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