Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Sean Chen not involved in dodgy coal deals: SID

FUELING SUSPICION:The SID launched a probe into the former premier after lawmakers questioned overseas coal purchases and electricity price increases

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said its investigation into former premier Sean Chen (陳?), who was accused of illegally allowing state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) to purchase coal overseas at prices higher than market rates, did not find any irregularities.

The SID announced that it has concluded its investigation, adding that SID prosecutors had examined documents concerning Taipower’s overseas coal purchases, but did not find any irregularities.

It added that a number of Taipower officials had testified that the former premier had not been involved in any coal purchase deals.

In addition, the SID said that Chen had nothing to do with Taipower’s purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from CPC Corp, Taiwan.

Opposition lawmakers had questioned whether Taipower’s overseas coal purchases and LNG at prices higher than market rates contributed to Taipower’s loss-making performance and the subsequent increase of electricity prices.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), who said his research showed that despite the independent power producers (IPPs) signing guaranteed 25-year contracts with Taipower, electricity prices were negotiable and potential scandals could probably be found in those deals, had filed a lawsuit with the SID against Chen.

Lin said Taipower charged the IPPs low electricity rates and then bought electricity back from those producers at higher than the average market rates.

The firm has refused to disclose its agreements with IPPs and foreign energy providers, citing confidentiality, Lin added.

The legislator added that the purchases of LNG from CPC did appear to have an impact on the electricity prices because Taipower spent 54 percent of its NT$294.8 billion (US$10 billion) of fossil fuel purchases last year on LNG.

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