TAIPEI (THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Taiwan's Cabinet and the Presidential Office said on Monday (July 31) that they would switch off air conditioning in their offices from 1pm to 3pm for two weeks to conserve electricity.
The Cabinet, or Executive Yuan, said the decision was made to reduce the burden on power reserves after the collapse of power plant towers in Hualien took out generation capacity during peak season.The damage is expected to take two weeks to repair.
Spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung also urged Taiwan to switch off the air conditioner from 1pm to 3pm - the hottest hours of the day.
Mr Hsu said the Executive Yuan hoped to set an example and invited office workers to join its campaign, using a fan instead of air-conditioning units to save electricity.
Taiwan's power supply is facing a critical challenge in the wake of Typhoon Nesat, which destroyed infrastructure that has taken out 1.3 million kilowatts in capacity.
Operating reserve margins will be razor thin in the coming days due to a storm-toppled transmission tower in a privately run power plant in Hualien.
Although all power generation equipment remains functional at Hualien's Hoping power plant, the transmission tower's collapse means that power cannot be delivered to state-run utility Taipower.
Taipower said that the missing capacity was roughly 1.3 million kilowatts (kW), accounting for 4 per cent of Taiwan's operating reserve.
Repairs are underway but will take about two weeks.
The state-run utility urged the public to conserve electricity over the next two weeks. Turning off lights that are not in use, setting the thermostat to 28 deg C or above and other power-saving practices can help avert blackouts, Taipower said.
Taiwan's operating reserve margins are expected to be as low as 2.12 per cent and 2.4 per cent on Thursday and Friday, the power utility said.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that despite the state of the power supply, there were no plans to restart the reactors at Taiwan's two nuclear power plants that had been closed for maintenance.