Sat, Sep 15, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Officials, KMT mull freezing electricity hike

PRESSING PAUSE:Presidential Office delegates met with KMT lawmakers over calls from across party lines to suspend the price rise, which is scheduled for December

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Presidential Office Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) last night met with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators to discuss the scheduled second-stage electricity price hike, as the opposition camp urged the government to freeze the hike amid concerns about consumer goods price increases.

“We are hoping to gain a better understanding of the varying opinions on the electricity price hike, and want to discuss the issue with party legislators before the price increase is implemented in December,” he said.

The meeting between top Presidential Office officials and KMT legislators was held after Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) expressed concerns about growing opposition to the plan from legislators across party lines, as well as business groups.

Tseng also visited Wang yesterday morning to discuss the plan.

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration announced a three-stage electricity price hike in May. Forty percent of the planned total increase was implemented on June 10.

The second-stage price hike is scheduled for Dec. 10 and would enact another 40 percent of the total raise. The remaining 20 percent is not expected to take place until Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has streamlined its operations to the government’s satisfaction.

Dividing the price hikes into three stages was an adjustment made to the administration’s original plan after its announcement cause a public uproar. State-owned Taipower initially planned to raise rates by nearly 26 percent for households in the main bracket of power consumption — 330 to 500 kilowatt-hours per month — which accounts for 67 percent of all household users.

Under the new plan, rate hikes will not affect households and small businesses with electricity usage under 330 kilowatt-hours per month.

Opposition parties have called on the government to freeze the second-stage electricity price hike to ease the public’s economic burden. They also accused Taipower of profiting from the situation and said the price hike is unnecessary as the company did not implement any major reforms.

On behalf of the KMT legislative caucus, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said party legislators have differing opinions on whether the second-stage price hike should be put on hold, and will discuss the issue with the administrative branch before finalizing the caucus’ stance on the matter.

The Presidential Office is to hold another meeting with KMT legislators tomorrow.

The meeting between the Presidential Office and KMT’s legislative branch will also address other major government policies before the new legislative session begins on Tuesday, he said.

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