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Ma urges systematization of energy price hike

Taiwan should rationalize and systematize oil, electricity and natural gas prices based on the market's supply and demand conditions, President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday.

Ma made the remarks at a seminar held yesterday afternoon in the Southern Taiwan Innovation & Research Park, after many participating industrial representatives expressed concern about the rising prices of oil, power and natural gas.

Ma said that compared with other countries, Taiwan's oil and electricity prices are relatively low. The government has no choice but to raise oil and power rates so long as international energy prices are rising, given the fact that Taiwan relies on imports for up to 99.6 percent of oil and other energy products, he said.

He said that the government hasn't opposed the privatization of oil and power operations, but that once the operations are privatized, domestic oil and power prices should become even more expensive.

The president continued that the government has decided to freeze adjustments to power rates through to the end of October 2013, mainly to allow time for the state-run Taiwan Power Company to work out a floating pricing mechanism for power rates.

He stressed that it's necessary for the energy price hike to be rationalized and systematized based on market conditions. If state-run oil and power enterprises suffer operating losses as a result of failing to raise prices to reflect increasing costs, the government will have no choice but to use tax revenue to cover part of the losses, Ma concluded.

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