Sat, Aug 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Power shortage ‘illusion’ benefits big firms: groups

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Green Consumers’ Foundation chairman Jay Fang, second left, and members of Taiwan Environmental Radiation Survey protest outside the Control Yuan in Taipei yesterday, holding signs accusing Taipower of lining the pockets of big business by paying too much for electricity via the company’s demand bidding mechanism.

Photo: CNA

The nation’s so-called power shortage is an “illusion” that Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) created when it concealed 8.1 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generated by the private sector’s cogeneration systems, opponents of nuclear power said yesterday.

“Through the illusion of a power shortage, corporations can profiteer through demand bidding,” Green Consumers’ Foundation chairman Jay Fang (方儉) said at a news conference outside the Control Yuan complex in Taipei.

Taipower in 2015 launched the “demand bidding” program, under which large consumers of electricity “bid” on how much power they can forgo on a particular day and at what price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The state-run utility would then “buy back” the electricity at the lowest bid.

Taipower had set the highest bidding price at NT$10 per kWh, but raised it to NT$12 on Wednesday last week.

“There is no legal basis for demand bidding,” Fang said, adding that the government should adopt legitimate power rationing regulations that begin with large consumers of electricity.

The Regulations Governing Power Rationing During Power Shortage Period (電源不足時期限制用電辦法) stipulate that users of more than 5 megawatts (MW) of electricity should cut power usage by 5 percent and users of less than 1MW would be the last group to endure alternate power cuts.

“In the ‘Open Taipower’ meetings last year, we told Premier Lin Chuan (林全) that cogeneration systems generate 8.1GW of electricity, more than the 5.14GW generated by six nuclear reactors,” Fang said.

“Taipower could buy electricity from cogeneration systems at about NT$2 per kWh, but it has chosen to spend NT$12 per kWh through the demand bidding program,” Taiwan Environmental Radiation Survey convener Lin Jui-chu (林瑞珠) said.

Gloria Hsu (徐光蓉), a professor at National Taiwan University and director of Mom Loves Taiwan, said the demand bidding program originally meant well, but it should not be open only to large consumers of electricty.

“Why do ordinary people not enjoy the same benefits by saving energy?” she asked.

The protesters submitted a petition to the Control Yuan asking it to impeach the premier, Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森), Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung (李世光) and Bureau of Energy Director-General Lin Chuan-neng (林全能), as well as dismiss Taipower chairman Chu Wen-chen (朱文成) and Taipower president Chung Bin-li (鍾炳利), over what they called the spreading of misinformation about the power shortage and dereliction of duty.

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