Bayan Muna hits ‘looming’ power rate hike due to shutdowns
MANILA, Philippines – Militant group Bayan Muna on Friday blasted the “impending” power rate increase due to plant shutdowns and stressed that power plant operators should shoulder the costs.
The group issued the statement following a Senate hearing on Thursday where it was revealed that consumers may have to pay more in generation charges following several power plant shutdowns
“It is the owners of the generation companies that should shoulder the additional cost of power that was caused by their plant shutdowns,” Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares said in a statement.
“May kontrata sila to deliver electricity to the public pero di nila naibigay. Kung nasira ang boiler o anumang problema yan, kargo nila dapat,” Colmenares added.
Colmenares added that the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), which allows generation companies to implement power hikes when plant shutdowns occur, only provides an opportunity for generation companies “to earn higher profits by shutting down some plants to create an artificial supply shortage.”
“These generation companies should not escape liability by passing on to the public the higher electricity costs resulting from these shutdowns. Sila na nga may kasalanan kumita pa sila. Fair ba yun?” Colmenares said.
“While other countries predict shortages by calculating lost energy supply resulting from ‘planned shutdowns’ and ‘unplanned forced shutdowns’, the Department of Energy (DOE) is probably the only government agency which includes not only planned and unplanned shutdowns but even ‘additional unplanned sudden shutdowns’,” he added.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, meanwhile, renewed his call against the increase in missionary charges.
“Last month I already wrote and asked the DOE and the Commission on Audit (COA) to investigate the reasons for the P3.5 billion increase in missionary subsidies charged to all consumers in just one year, from 2016 to 2017,” Zarate said.
Missionary subsidies are granted in areas not yet connected to the country’s main grids, as mandated by EPIRA.
“Ang nakakapagtaka kasi dito ay sa halip na lumiit ang missionary fees dahil dapat ay lumiliit na din ang areas na di pa nararating ng kuryente sa haba ng mga taon na ginagawa ito, bakit baliktad ang nangyayari at tumataas pa ang singil sa mga consumers,” Zarate pointed out. /gsg
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