Electricity prices to increase by 29% by 2025: MOEA head

Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin said on March 4 that the average cost of electricity to consumers will increase to NT$3.39 per kWh, up from the current level of NT$2.62 by 2025. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Electricity consumption in Taiwan is projected to grow by 1.86 percent annually from 2018 to 2025, while electricity prices could increase to NT$3.39 (US$0.11) per kilowatt hour (kWh), up 29 percent over the same period, Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said on March 4.

The estimated 1.86 percent annual growth is an upward revision from the 1.26 percent estimated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) in 2017 that takes into account the latest electricity consumption report, provided that fuel prices remain unchanged, which is very unlikely.

The estimate also takes into account the large-scale investments in the semiconductor sector, the increase in overseas Taiwanese businesses returning and investing at home, climate change and the emergence of electric vehicles, Shen said at a legislative hearing.

By 2025, the ministry estimates that the average cost of electricity to consumers will increase to NT$3.39 per kWh, up from the current level of NT$2.62, Shen said.

The ministry had estimated the electricity consumption price would be NT$0.5 higher than in 2017 but added an additional NT$0.03 because of the government’s decision to halt construction of the coal-fired Shenao Power Plant in New Taipei City and replace it with liquefied natural gas to meet power demand.

In related news, the ministry also estimated that NT$470 billion will be needed to phase out Taiwan’s three nuclear power plants, a 40 percent increase from the NT$335.3 billion estimated in the 2017 report.

Shen also said that to help keep consumer prices stable, electricity price rises will be capped at 3 percent this year and the ministry will use an energy price stabilization fund to offset state-run Taiwan Power Co.’s (Taipower) losses.

Considering the relative stability of global oil prices this year, there is no immediate need to hike electricity prices, but as that is up to the ministry’s electricity price review committee, Shen said he will respect its decision.

The China Post Staff with CNA