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Economic Ministry touts energy-saving program

The China Post news staff--The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday dismissed a report that said its energy-saving incentive program had failed, stressing that electricity consumption has dropped.

The ministry said average household consumption dropped to 350 units monthly in 2011 from 365 units in 2007 — a 4.1-percent decrease.

The citing of the figures was a response to a Liberty Times report that said the country's total electricity consumption has increased since the ministry launched a program to encourage ordinary households to save energy in 2008.

The report said the government has spent NT$30.8 billion subsidizing discounted rates for energy-saving households over the past four years, but electricity use has shot up despite the incentives.

“This is not a correct interpretation” of the figures, the ministry's Energy Bureau said while commenting on the report.

The bureau explained that the increase in total consumption is a result of a rise in the number of households.

Economic Minister Shih Yen-hsiang said that GDP growth will definitely be accompanied by more electricity use. But he added that the government hopes the GDP will rise faster than energy consumption.

Speaking on the sidelines of an international energy forum arranged by the bureau, Shih said that over the past four years, the efficiency of energy use has been improving at an annual average of over 3 percent.

He noted that energy savings and carbon reductions are all about efficient use of energy, rather than “how much less energy is used this year than the last.”

The Energy Bureau maintained that the electricity saved between July 2008 and June 2012 came to 15.8 billion units, with a total reduction of carbon emissions of 9.71 million tons.

It said electricity bill savings amounted to NT$55 billion during the period, or an equivalent of a decrease of NT$59 billion in electricity-generation cost by the state-run Taiwan Power Company.

The average household consumption in 2011 was comparable to the level recorded in 2002, the bureau added.

The bureau said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been making timely revisions to its energy-saving measures.

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