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Electricity rates to hit record high for summer
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-01 07:30 PM
Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) put summer rates for electricity into effect Sunday, raising tariffs in its annual attempt to prod consumers into cutting back on power consumption during the sweltering days of summer. The MOEA reasons that having to pay more per unit of electricity will cause people to think twice before they turn on an appliance and to pay more attention to turning things off when they are not needed – although it is hard to imagine that many people will refrain from turning on the A/C when the mercury soars, or pick up a book instead of surfing the channels to find something entertaining, just to save a fistful of dollars when the bill from Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) comes around.

Either way, electric bills will be higher next month, with Taipower saying that an ‘average’ household which uses about 400kWh of electricity a month will pay NT$126 more a month during the summer period of June to September than it would for the same amount of electricity during the remaining eight months of the year.

The summer rate hike is actually the ‘second phase’ of a two-part price hike introduced by the MOEA last October. The new table of tariffs is also the highest rates ever seen in Taiwan.

MOEA explains that in order to provide enough power to meet demand during the summer months (think of growling air conditioners) Taipower must bring power generated by plants that use higher-priced or less efficient fuel sources on line. The cost of fuel for coal-fired power plants, for example, is more than twice what it costs to produce the same amount of electricity in a gas-fired unit and more than three times what it costs to deliver the same amount of power using a fuel oil-powered generator. In light of this reality, Taipower decided to implement a rate scheme similar to those used in other nations such as the US, Japan and Korea, announcing higher rates for the summer in February 1989. The theory holds that higher unit rates for households that wind up in higher consumption categories will serve as an incentive for consumers to cut back on unnecessary or wasteful habits.

MOEA claims that implementing the summer rates schedule has helped Taipei to pare electricity consumption by more than 4 million kilowatts at peak times and has allowed the company to forego rolling blackouts or brownouts since the year 2002.

MOEA adds that Taiwan uses progressive tariff rates for residential electricity tariff system which assigns household users to six categories based on monthly power consumption: 120 kWh or less; 121 to 330 kWh, 331 to 500 kWh; 501 to 700 kWh; 701 to 1000 kWh; and 1001 or more kWh.

At the same time, MOEA reminds people that even simple measures such as setting the thermostat of an air conditioner at 28 degrees rather than 26 degrees can cut consumption considerably (every 1-degree increase can result in a saving of about 6% in electricity). Cutting consumption also means much better results in carbon reduction.

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