Taiwan wastes electricity because it is cheap: Minister

Taiwan wastes electricity because it is cheap: Minister

TAIPEI - Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch yesterday said Taiwan has the highest average electricity consumption per person in Asia and electricity prices are among the cheapest in the world.

Household electricity prices are the second lowest in the world, while industrial electricity is the second cheapest in Asia and fourth in the world, Chang said.

Such a price structure is hindering the government's efforts to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, but at the same time encouraging waste, he said during a radio interview, as he defended the economics ministry's decision to raise electricity prices in October.

The minister did not disclose figures to support his comparison of Taiwan's electricity prices with other countries.

He did provide figures to show that state-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) has had fast rising electricity-generating costs.

In 2003, fuel for producing electricity accounted for 37 per cent of the total cost, but now the percentage has shot up to 63 per cent, according to the minister.

A breakdown of the fuel cost shows that over the past 10 years, oil costs have soared 29 per cent, coal 168 per cent and natural gas 100 per cent, Chang said.

In 2003, Taipower still managed to report profits, but since then it has accumulated losses of over NT$220 billion (S$9billion), the minister noted.

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