State-owned Taiwan Power Co., the country’s sole electricity supplier, has reported an unusually steep pre-tax loss of NT$2.06 billion for the first seven months of the year. (US$1=NT$33).

It blamed the loss on rising fuel costs and damage caused by huge tropical storms that struck the country in July and this statement.
In releasing the results, the Commission of National Corporations under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said the price of imported coal from Australia surged from US$25 per tonne to US$60 per tonne.

Taipower spokesman Lee Jiin-tyan told the Taipei Times: “Despite a steep increase in expenditures, we will not raise electricity rates this year as was stated earlier.”

The company has revised its financial forecast for the year to NT$7.5 billion, nearly 50% lower than its previous forecast. But even this target may be difficult to hit, he added. As the company’s privatisation timetable set for the end of next year might be delayed, Mr Lee said it could save up to NT$6.9 billion from a retirement preparation fund.

In response, Taipower is looking to reduce operating costs and bolster capacity at its thermal power plants. Higher fuel costs, however, are benefiting the state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp., which realised record profits over the last seven months, the MOEA said.

CPC reported a record pre-tax profit of NT$14.93 billion, or 120.4% of its fiscal-year target of NT$12.4 billion.

“We hope surging international oil prices will ease,” said Liao Tsang-long, CPC’s deputy director of industrial relations. “Despite the pressure, CPC has no plans to boost prices this month.”

Taipei Times said CPC has already hiked oil prices three times this year to reflect the rising costs.