The nation’s electricity rates are to remain at an average of NT$3.1154 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the next six months due to a drop in international fuel prices and the government’s policy of stabilizing consumer prices, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a statement yesterday.
A continued capital injection from the government to state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) to help support its finances is another reason for the power price freeze, the ministry said.
The decision came after a meeting of the ministry’s electricity price review committee, which determined that electricity rates should be frozen after prices were raised 8.4 percent on average in July last year and 11 percent on average in April.
In particular, industrial consumers, namely high-voltage and ultra-high-voltage electricity users, faced rate hikes of 15 percent in July last year and 17 percent in April.
Due to a policy that took effect in July last year, the review committee would continue supporting the domestic agriculture and fishery sectors, schools, social welfare groups and wet market vendors by not increasing their electricity rates for the next six months, the ministry said.
However, the committee ended a freeze on rates for about 880 businesses, including department stores, cinemas, gyms, restaurants and catering service providers, as their power usage and revenues in the first half of the year were higher than the same period last year, the ministry said.
In other words, those businesses would face a 15 percent increase in electricity rates starting next month, it said.
Meanwhile, the committee in April only raised rates half as much (8.5 percent) for low-voltage electricity users, such as the textile, glass, metal, bicycle and optoelectronic sectors, and yesterday maintained those rates for the next six months due to the weak business climate those businesses face, the ministry said.
Overall, the committee’s decision to freeze or cap electricity rates would benefit 120,000 businesses, it said.
Taipower, which reported losses of NT$123 billion (US$3.84 billion at the current exchange rate) in the first half of the year, has said it expects an aggregated loss of about NT$400 billion by the end of this year.
The company received NT$150 billion in capital and an electricity subsidy of NT$50 billion from the government this year, with an additional capital injection of NT$100 billion planned for next year, which would help strengthen its financial health, the ministry said.
The next meeting to determine electricity rates is to take place in April next year.
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