Taiwan warns of electricity rationing as people debate nuclear power

Taiwan warns of electricity rationing as people debate nuclear power
Anti-nuclear protesters display placards reading "terminate the fourth nuclear power plant in 2014" outside Parliament during a demonstration in Taipei.

With the nation's several power plants facing retirement and the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant being sealed, the government is likely to implement electricity rationing in 2021, said Economics Minister Woody Duh Tyzz-Jiun (杜紫軍) yesterday.

The original plan was to have Nuke 4 replace Nuke 1, Nuke 2 and fossil-fuel power stations, many of which are set to be retired in the coming years. However, with the construction of Nuke 4 causing public outcry and consequently being temporarily sealed, the nation will have less power supply in the future, Duh said.

In yesterday's interview conducted by GTV network, Duh also proposed that in the future, electricity prices be set based on floating fuel prices to better reflect the cost structure.

The price adjustment will not occur as often as it does with oil prices, which occurs every week. Instead, price change reviews may be conducted every half a year or every year. Less frequent price changes will ease the impact to average and underprivileged households, according to Duh.

It has been many years since there were major price changes for raw materials, yet these changes have not been thoroughly reflected in local electricity prices, said Duh, adding that the government raised electricity prices last year and the previous year as part of the effort to reflect changes in the energy cost structure.

Nevertheless, Duh promised not to raise electricity prices this or next year, unless there are exceptional changes to raw material prices in the global market. The state-owned Taiwan Power Company that is responsible for providing electric power to the island is charged with improving its operating efficiency in the next two years without raising prices.

Duh pointed out that electricity prices have a complex cost structure, where coal makes up 40 per cent of the raw material supplying power, natural gas makes up about 33 per cent, and renewable energy and oil make up the rest.

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