Electricity use hits new record amid rising heat
As intense heat drove people to turn on cooling devices, the nation’s electricity use yesterday was pegged at 3,257.46 kilowatts as of 1:51 p.m., a record high for the year, reported Taiwan Power Company (Taipower, ).
Temperatures in Keelung and Taipei yesterday reached as high as 35.9 and 35.7 degrees Celsius, respectively, and the absence of rain has made the heat even more stifling, said the Central Weather Bureau.
It was the third time in a week that the nation’s electricity use hit new records. With rising temperatures, Taipower’s meters registered record-high numbers two days in a row, on June 2 and June 3. Electricity use peaked at 3,163 and 3,224.6 kilowatts on the two days.
High figures recorded this week were out of ordinary, as electricity use usually peaked in July and August in past years.
The electricity reserve margin — the generating capacity available to meet short-term demand if a generator goes down — was recorded at 5.12 percent yesterday.
The figure, which has dropped further from the 6 percent recorded on June 3, is alarming low and signifies higher chances of a government- imposed rationing.
It was largely the result of yesterday’s higher electricity use, Taipower said, adding that a private utility plant’s generator malfunction was also to blame.
Power Rationing Looms
Experience shows when the reserve margin reaches below 7.4 percent, at least one mandatory power restriction will be imposed in a given year.
Taipower warned earlier that increasing power use and generator wear-down are likely to render electric rationing by 2019.
If the nation’s nuclear power plants retire based on the planned schedule, the reserve margin will fall to negative values in 2023 and 2024, Taipower forecast.
Power outages will be inevitable when the reserve margin arrives at negative values. This may not happen, however, if the government pushes for conservation measures while tapping new energy sources, Taipower said.
Higher Electric Bills in
Utility consumption typically surges in summer months as people turn on air conditioning to combat hot weather.
Higher electric rates were just introduced on June 1 as Taipower employs more costly generators to cope with higher electricity demand.
For households that use 330 kilowatt hours a month, they will pay NT$ 800 a month, NT$ 65 higher than what they pay in non-summer months.
For households that use 500 kilowatt hours a month, their electric bill will increase by NT$184 to NT$1,480.