More than 50 legislators from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday supported a draft bill that opposes a scheduled increase in electricity prices later this year.
KMT Legislator Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) said the economy grew only 1.56 percent in the first quarter and if electricity rates were to increase it would have an impact on consumer prices. Therefore he had decided to submit a draft bill calling for postponement of the planned electricity price hike.
The bill, which has already received the support of 55 legislators, stipulates that the increase should only take place when the economic growth rate has surpassed 3 percent for three consecutive quarters, Tsai said.
The KMT has 65 seats in the legislature. Excluding the legislative speaker and deputy speaker, the party has a maximum of 63 legislators who can support the draft bill.
Of the 55 legislators who have already indicated their support, 52 are from the KMT, with Lin Cheng-er (林正二) and Chen Yi-jie (陳怡潔) of the People First Party and independent legislator Chen Hsueh-sheng (陳雪生) joining them, Tsai said.
Tsai said electricity price hikes should only take place in times of stable economic growth, thus cushioning the impact on living costs and making them more acceptable to the public.
According to the proposal by the Executive Yuan, the planned wave of electricity rate adjustments will comprise a 40 percent increment on the regulated rate of 25 percent, amounting to an overall rate hike of about 10 percent.
“This is too much of an increase for the public to accept,” Tsai said.
“Use of electricity is related to everyday living, and tied to the pricing of all kinds of goods and consumable products,” he said.
As the economy is stagnant, if the hike goes through, the cost of manufacturing for small and medium-sized enterprises will increase considerably, and this is not good for developing our industries,” Tsai said.