State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) plans to raise electricity rates for heavy users by an average of 8.4 percent from next month, as rising global energy prices have significantly eaten into its bottom line, snapping four consecutive years of price freezes.
Industrial users such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) would bear the brunt of the hikes, facing an increase of 15 percent.
About 22,000 heavy users would be affected, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement after a meeting of the electricity price review committee yesterday.
The rate for heavy users of electricity would climb to NT$3.1039 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), from NT$2.699 per kWh, while the price for extra-heavy users would rise to NT$2.5707 per kWh, from NT$2.2354, it said.
Households with monthly consumption of more than 1,000kWh would see their rate rise 9 percent, it said.
“As persistent fuel price hikes have put Taipower’s operations under heavy pressure, it should [raise electricity tariffs to] reflect costs to keep power supply stable,” Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Chuan-neng (林全能) told a news briefing in Taipei after the meeting.
“Compared with price hikes of between 13 and 45 percent in some countries, Taiwan’s price increase ... falls on the low end of the global price hike range,” Lin said. “We have considered Taiwan’s global competitiveness in the pricing adjustments.”
Global crude oil prices are expected to rise to US$107 per barrel this year, which would push natural gas prices up to US$19.63 per cubic meter, the ministry said, adding that global coal prices are expected to rise to US$307 per tonne.
Taipower would see an increase in costs of about NT$300 billion (US$10.13 billion) this year due to surges in global fuel prices, it said.
To help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry is freezing rates for major users in six sectors: food processing, farmers, fishers, and department store, movie theater and gym operators.
The ministry is also keeping electricity rates unchanged for households, small-scale retailers, restaurants and schools with a monthly consumption of less than 1,000kWh, in an attempt to prevent inflation from rising further.
About 12.72 million users would benefit from the price freeze, it said.
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