Power rate increase in Iloilo draws protestsPhilippine Daily Inquirer
Militants yesterday launched a series of protest actions against the implementation of a 32-centavo per kilowatt-hour (kWh) increase in electricity rates.
“Consumers are angry that we have to pay more when electricity rates are already too much just to satisfy profit-hungry companies,” said Lean Porquia, spokesperson of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Panay.
Bayan led around 30 people who threw rotten tomatoes at the office of Panay Electric Co. (Peco), the city’s lone power distributor, during a picket.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has granted a petition of Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) to recover P692.304 million in commissioning and testing costs. PEDC operates the 164-megawatt coal-fired plant, which supplies the bulk of electricity to Peco.
An ERC order released this month allowed PEDC to collect the commissioning and testing costs from consumers over a period of five years.
The city government is expected to file a motion for reconsideration at the ERC to stop the implementation of the order.
Increased business cost
Business groups have also opposed the extra charges, saying this will disturb the investment climate in the city and increase business costs.
Randy Pastolero, Peco vice president for operations, said the company would implement the ERC order only after the agency rules on the issue with finality. He said Peco was merely collecting the charges for PEDC.
Gil Altamira, commercial operations manager of Global Business Power Corp. which operates the PEDC, said measures were being worked on to cushion the impact of the order, including the reduction of generation costs.
“We are bound to implement orders of the ERC, but we are studying all options so that it will not burden consumers,” Altamira told the Inquirer. Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas