Vice MOEA minister to be Taipower chief

The China Post news staff

Vice Economic Minister Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球) will take the helm at Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), following the resignation of Chairman Edward Chen and the latest policy reforms of the nation’s mammoth state-run electricity company. Premier Sean Chen said yesterday he has accepted Chen’s resignation and approved Economic Affairs Minister Shih Yen-shiang’s recommendation to appoint Hwang as the new Taipower chief. Minister Shih is also convener of the commodity price stabilization task force at the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). The premier recognized the Taipower staff’s efforts and contributions, saying, however, reforms at the enterprise will continue after he takes over. The local media’s recent public opinion survey on Premier Chen’s performance revealed a high level of dissatisfaction. Now in his third year as premier, Chen vowed to deliberate the major economic issues plaguing the country. Hwang is scheduled to deliver today a report on the proposed amendment to the existing regulations governing oil products to the Economic Affairs Committee of the Legislative Yuan on behalf of the MOEA.

IPP Price Contracts Lawmakers are also expected to raise issues concerning Hwang’s new policies concerning Taipower. Liu Ming-chung, executive director of the Commission of National Corporations (CNC) under the MOEA, said the new Taipower chairman will make the company’s contracts with independent power plants (IPPs) a top priority. Liu said members of an MOEA task force aiming to improve Taipower operations and CPC Corp. Taiwan suggested dealing with the issues related to the high electricity prices paid to IPPs in the private sector by the state-run utility company at its second meeting held on Saturday, May 4.

The government’s decision to hike electricity rates has come under fire by lawmakers and the public, while Taipower has been criticized for buying power at exorbitantly high prices from private plants.

The MOEA task force was set up in response to President Ma Ying-jeou’s announced plans to push forward personnel and operations reforms at state-run enterprises in the shortest possible time. Both Taipower and CPC Taiwan have been blasted for poor administrative efficiency and business operating performance but rely on increasing energy prices sharply for consumers to cover their deepening financial losses.

Experiences Hwang, Taipower’s new head, was chosen on the strength of his experience supervising state enterprises. Born in 1952 in central Taichung, Hwang studied computer science and earned a Ph.D. in information engineering at the National Chiao Tung University.

He handled technology service and information industry development at the MOEA and served on the boards of both the Institute for Information Industry and the Industrial Technology Research Institute. Hwang was appointed executive director of the CNC to supervise national corporations in 2006 and was promoted to CNC vice chairman in 2008, which has historically been held by the incumbent minister of economic affairs. In 2009, Hwang became one of the first vice economic affairs ministers to take charge of industrial development and energy affairs. Edward Chen, a veteran executive at Taipower for almost 40 years, told reporters that his resignation did not come from any external pressure, but because he was unable to explain the complicated situation of Taipower in plain language to the public.