Taiwan president says to scrutinise electricity management after outages

  • World
  • Tuesday, 18 May 2021

FILE PHOTO: Boats sit at a pier on Sun Moon Lake with low water levels during an islandwide drought, in Nantou, Taiwan May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Annabelle Chih/File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen pledged on Tuesday to look into the tech powerhouse's electricity management after two major blackouts hit homes and businesses in less than a week, triggering criticism of the government's power policy.

Taiwan, which hosts major chip makers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, imposed power cuts on Monday evening following a spike in demand amid a heatwave and drought and failure at a power plant, in the second such outage in a week.

In a live broadcast online, Tsai offered her apology for the two outages and promised to reexamine the island's power management amid heated debate over the her electricity policy.

"Two such incidents in one week is not only hard for citizens to accept, it is also hard for me to accept," Tsai said, adding extreme weather and a booming economy had posed a "great challenge" to electricity management.

Tsai said she had instructed the economy ministry and state-run electricity provider Taipower to reexamine their management planning. She did not elaborate.

Taiwan's economy grew 8.16% in the first quarter, its fastest in more than a decade, as the "work from home" boom because of the novel coronavirus pandemic sparked strong global demand for the island's hi-tech exports.

The boom, which saw chip firms as well as petrochemicals expanding production, comes as Taiwan is grappling with its worst drought in more than half a century.

Taipower said on Monday the drought meant electricity generated by hydropower plants was insufficient to meet the unexpected demand during a heatwave on Monday, a record high for May.

Taiwan's main opposition party, the Kuomintang, has said the outages showed the government's power policy was inadequate and called for Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua to step down.

Tsai's government wants to phase out nuclear power and has set a target to generate 20% of the island's electricity from renewables by 2025, up from just 5.4% last year.

(Reporting By Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

UK sanctions Russian and Iranian officials, citing human rights abuses
US woman, father found dead after her toddler answers phone call from worried co-worker
Canada adds sanctions on Russia, Iran, Myanmar over human rights
France's EDF turns up nuclear as cold snap tests energy resolve
Russian state media lauds Putin's 'win' on Bout exchange
Vietnam vessel saves 154 Rohingya from sinking boat, transfers to Myanmar navy
Pakistani journalist's killing in Kenya a pre-meditated murder -report
French President Emmanuel Macron slams TikTok algorithm over censorship, ‘addiction’
Indonesia's new laws a threat to privacy, press and human rights, says UN
German lawmakers want security review after failed coup plot

Others Also Read