A digital sign outside a fruit vendor in Taipei urges people to wear masks yesterday. The message reads: “Put on masks to protect our health during this time of pandemic.”
‘A GOOD FIRST STEP’: Higher electricity rates place an extra burden on households, as people work and study from home, and avoid going outside, Johnny Chiang said
By Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter
Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） Chairman Johnny Chiang （江啟臣） yesterday called on the government to suspend the implementation of higher summer electricity rates while level 3 COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
With people taking turns going into the office and working from home, schools remaining closed to in-person instruction, and temperatures rising, households are already experiencing an increase in the financial burden from electricity consumption, Chiang wrote on Facebook.
Summer electricity rates, which went into effect yesterday, might further exacerbate the burden on the public, he said.
As long as level 3 COVID-19 restrictions are in effect, the government should suspend the higher summer prices to allow the public to practice COVID-19 prevention at home with peace of mind, he said.
Reducing the costs of COVID-19 prevention for families should be a part of the government’s considerations when encouraging prevention efforts, he said, adding that this could also be “the first step” to offering COVID-19 relief.
By introducing relief measures from the standpoint of citizens, the government can allow their effects to be “truly felt,” he said.
The voluntary participation in disease prevention efforts by a majority of the public has been a key factor in controlling the domestic COVID-19 outbreak, and would continue to be key to containing the virus, he said.
“The government’s empathy should start from the details,” Chiang added.
While government relief measures aimed at specific groups are still being discussed, the immediate suspension of summer electricity rates for the public would be “a good first step,” he said.
He shared an image with the words “Start the relief with the suspension of summer electricity prices,” with the hashtags “I support ordinary citizens” and “I support disease prevention.”
The nation has since February 1989 implemented seasonal electricity rates, with higher rates applied from June to September, and lower rates applied from October to May, Taiwan Power Co wrote on its Web site.
The Central Epidemic Command Center on May 19 issued a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert, which is to last until June 14.
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