The Control Yuan yesterday impeached one incumbent and two former officials at Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), as well as a former Ministry of Economic Affairs official, for mismanagement that caused mammoth debts at the state-owned utility.
Four Control Yuan members, led by Liu Yuh-san (劉玉山), launched a probe into Taipower management in April in response to a public outcry over increases in electricity prices. The probe focused on Taipower policies to purchase electricity from businesses using cogeneration systems and from independent power producers.
Control Yuan members impeached former Taipower chairman Edward Chen (陳貴明), former Taipower president Tu Cheng-yi (涂正義), Taipower president Lee Han-shen (李漢申) and former Bureau of Energy director Yeh Huey-ching (葉惠青) for “dereliction of duty” involving “severe irregularities.”
The Control Yuan meeting approved the impeachment of the four officials and referred them to the judiciary to face possible judicial responsibility for “irregularities” and “failing to safeguard the interests of the company.”
According to the probe, the trio of Taipower officials failed to renew contracts for the procurement of electricity with nine independent power producers in accordance with changes in the nation’s interest rates as stipulated in their long-term contracts, resulting in an extra cost of NT$5.9 billion (US$197 million).
The Control Yuan said irregularities between Taipower and the private power producers included Taipower purchasing electricity from the firms at a higher price than its own electricity generation cost, when its power reserve capacity was already well above stipulated reserves.
Taipower officials often quit or retire only to take posts at private power providers that sell electricity back to Taipower, leaving much room for irregularities, Control Yuan member Yeh Yao-peng (葉耀鵬) said.
Yeh was impeached for granting permission in July 2006 to Hsin Yuan Power Corp, a cogeneration corporation, to install 490 megawatts in capacity when he knew that Taipower had sufficient power reserves, imposing additional costs on Taipower, which began purchasing surplus electricity from the corporation in June 2009.