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August 21, 2017

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Taiwan's power use hits historic high

Power consumption in Taiwan hit 36,266,000 kilowatts (kW) at 1:54 p.m. Tuesday, the greatest demand seen in the history of Taiwan Power Company (Taipower).

The demand pushed Taipower's operating reserve to a razor-thin 1.72 percent and only 124,000 kW from a black alert, which typically entails power rationing.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that repairs on Hoping Power Co.'s collapsed transmission tower are ahead of schedule and could bring back 650,000 kW of power to the grid as early as next Monday at noon.

Taipower on Monday verified rumors that an emergency diesel unit in Nuclear Power Plant No. 4 had been switched on, but stressed that it was a routine test.

A claim circulated on the online forum PTT yesterday that the nuclear power plant, which was mothballed in 2015 amid controversy, had been restarted to cope with Taiwan's power crisis.

Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) also addressed the claim, saying that the emergency diesel unit -- and not the nuclear power plant itself -- was switched on for "maintenance and tests."

Hsu said that the test produced a "small amount of electricity" that was in fact sent to the power grid to "prevent waste."

Hsu emphasized that the test was a routine annual exercise undertaken since the administration of former President Ma Ying-jeou.

Local media asked Hsu whether this week's power supply woes would warrant the recommissioning of retired reactors in Nuclear Power Plant No. 1 and No. 2.

"There have been no discussions about this. There are no plans to restart them," he said.

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