Vice economic minister confirms pick as new chairman of Taipower


TAIPEI–Incumbent Vice Economic Minister Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球) confirmed yesterday that he has been picked as the new chairman of state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), amid complaints about a lack of efficiency at the country’s sole power supplier.

In a hearing at the Legislature, Hwang said he will retain his current position for an undisclosed period and serve concurrently as Taipower chairman. He said he will resign as vice economics minister at a later date.

A formal announcement of the appointment has not yet been made, but Hwang said he has acceded to Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang’s (施顏祥) request to take over from Edward Chen as Taipower chairman and is confident he can continue the reforms at the company. Taipower’s operations have come under close public scrutiny since the government announced in early April that electricity rates would be raised substantially in May to help the company offset its mounting losses.

Some critics have contended that some of the company’s losses are due to poor management and bloated pay scales and that consumers and the private sector should not have to pay for Taipower’s waste and inefficiency.

Meanwhile, lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition parties agreed that legislative review of Taipower’s budget proposal should be postponed from May 10 to sometime next week in view of the fact that the budget was drawn up under the leadership of the current chairman.

However, Hwang said the Legislature should stick to the original scheduled date of review.