Taipower wants corroded electricity pylons replaced this year

Taipei-State-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) wants to replace corroded electricity transmission pylons in Yunlin County by the end of this year, a Taipower official said Monday, but is being stymied by local landlords.

Hsiao Sheng-jen (???), a chief engineer at Taipower's transmission unit, was responding to a newspaper report that eight power pylons in Yunlin County, Changhua County and Taoyuan were found to be heavily rusted.

The Apple Daily newspaper cited an expert who said that the old rusted pylons could collapse in an earthquake or be blown down by strong winds, triggering a chain reaction that could lead neighboring pylons to tilt as they are connected by high-tension power cables.

The report said that corrosion in pylons along the coast of Yunlin is particularly serious, including a 33-year-old pylon in Mailiao, which is bolstered by nothing more than wooden posts.

In response, Hsiao said that the company's transmission pylons in coastal areas are being damaged by salt, particularly those in Yunlin, Changhua and Taoyuan.

According to Taipower's standard operating procedure, an inspection of these towers is conducted every two months and if any paint on a tower is found to have peeled, or any corrosion is spotted, the company will earmark a budget for repainting to prevent further corrosion, Hsiao said.

The rust and corrosion of the pylons is mainly the result of local landlords' hindrance of Taipower workers' tower maintenance, repair and replacement efforts, Hsiao said, citing on-site workers.

There have been disputes over rent between local landlords and Taipower, because some landlords in Miaoli are dissatisfied with the state-run company, which has paid only about NT$40,000 (US$1,327) to rent their land for 30 years.

Based on safety considerations, Taipower will continue to negotiate with local landlords in several areas of Yunlin in the hope of replacing the old corroded towers by the end of this year.

If the negotiations fail, Taipower will ask township mediation committees' help for coordination and if this still fails, the company will resort to the exercise of public power, possibly by asking for police assistance.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel