Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) yesterday suspended a power rate hike this month to alleviate the financial burden of households amid a COVID-19 outbreak.
Higher summer electricity rates usually start in June to moderate power usage during the hottest months of the year, but the measure has been delayed as part of COVID-19 related stimulus measures by the government.
Households consuming less than 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) would pay the regular price this month, while heavy users would have to pay the regular summer rate for every kilowatt-hour in excess of 1,000.
About 10 million households should benefit, at an estimated cost of NT$1.9 billion (US$67.8 million) to Taipower in forgone power charges.
Out of approximately 13 million users in Taiwan, about 3 million use less than 120kWh in July anyhow, and are not subject to the summer pricing at all, Taipower said.
As for the other 10 million, about 850,000 households use more than 1,000kWh a month, it said.
“Those heavy users make up only 6.5 percent of all households, but account for 21 percent of residential electricity consumption,” it said. “Given the COVID-19 situation, consumption of the first 1,000kWh is exempt from the summer rate, but the rest is still subject to the hike.”
Companies employing marginalized people or institutions caring for the socially disadvantaged are fully exempt from the higher summer rates, it said.
Taipower added that households should not worry if they receive a power bill for this month with the higher summer rate, as many bills had already been sent out before the company decided to suspend the rate hike.
They should pay their bill as usual and their next bill would reflect the difference, it said.
Taipower uses higher summer rates to encourage users to moderate power use during peak season. As the economy booms, peak power usage has broken new records.
“We are still in need of some peak pricing to hold back the increase in consumption,” it said.
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