Emphasis of electricity price increase misplaced
The China Post news staffThe government is bent on raising electricity prices in October to reflect what it calls rising costs. The general response from the public to the planned price increase has been complaints, as well as allegations that the government is letting the nation shoulder the losses incurred by its poor energy policy and poor management of the state-run Taiwan Power Company.
August 23, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
There may be grounds for the allegations and complaints. Taipower has been paying exorbitant fees to private firms buying the electricity they generate. Taipower, like many other state-run businesses, has been plagued by huge personnel expenses.
But the government has been emphasizing the issue. It claims that electricity prices in Taiwan are the second lowest in Asia. The costs of fuels for generating electricity have soared by up to 200 percent over the past decade or so. But average electricity prices have increased by only 32 percent during the same period.
The government is arguing that raising electricity prices is necessary to reflect the costs and will result in more efficient use of energy, reduce carbon emissions and maintain a sustainable power industry.
We are not questioning the need to use energy more efficiently and reduce carbon emissions, as it is time for us to really rethink our energy use.
But let's look at the issue from a different perspective. While prices are an economic issue, efficient energy use and cutting down on waste is an environmental issue that takes priority.
It is hard to imagine the world going back to the pre-electricity days, because our lives rely so much on electricity. But we need to think about how we can reduce our use of and reliance on energy.
We must develop more efficient and cleaner energy. At the same time we must also change our mentality and our lifestyle.