Consumers rally to stop Meralco-owned firms from forcing more coal in PH | Inquirer News
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Consumers rally to stop Meralco-owned firms from forcing more coal in PH

/ 05:08 PM September 18, 2019

MANILA — Consumers and environment advocates are demanding a stop to the reported bid by Meralco-owned companies to force more dirty, costly coal into the country’s energy supply.

“Consumers want clean, affordable, renewable energy, not the kind of energy being forced by Meralco and its sister generation companies (GenCos) into our bills,” said Power for People (P4P) Coalition Convenor Gerry Arances, adding that Meralco and its officers should realize that time is running out for coal.

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“From the steadily declining cost of renewable energy to the pronouncement of the President urging the reduction of coal reliance, the space to get new coal plants online is getting smaller and smaller,” Arances said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The coalition slammed Atimonan One Energy (A1E), an energy company wholly owned by Meralco, which recently emerged as the sole bidder for a 20-year power supply contract for 1,200MW Greenfield capacity or supply coming from new power plants.

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“A1E has repeatedly tried and failed to get the 1,200MW Atimonan power station up and running despite strong opposition from the public. Every step of the way, the proponents have tried to deceive and cut corners just so the plant could secure funding and permits,” said Ian Rivera of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

Rivera noted that the Atimonan power station, located near the Lamon Bay protected area, threatens its surrounding ecosystem and the livelihood which depend on it. “The project had already incurred P15 billion worth of losses for Meralco Generation (MGen) by December 2018; the industry giant is already desperate in getting the power station operational. And in the end, it is the host communities, the consumers, and the climate who will pay for it,” he claimed.

Youth leader Bianca Opalda, from Kapakanan-Atimonan, said the company’s promise to provide jobs was not true and that many of the residents allegedly lost their livelihood because of the damage wrought on the environment. She expressed fear that the planned coal plant would affect their future.

Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Secretary General of Sanlakas, meanwhile, demanded accountability from the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission in letting MGen companies participate in the bidding after having tried to circumvent the process in the past. “It seems there is a habit of letting people off the hook in this administration,” he said.

“After getting caught by the consumers, Meralco GenCos have the nerve to bid on the contracts they tried to acquire through sketchy means, and the regulators in ERC and DOE are just letting them,” he alleged.

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TAGS: coal power plants, MERALCO, News, power sector, power supply agreements
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