Repeal of EPIRA law pushed
MANILA, Philippines – The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) should be repealed to combat the power cartel and to protect consumers from high electricity costs, Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives said.
The group sought the urgent repeal of Epira through House Bill 256.
“An urgent policy reversal is in order to give concrete solution to the nationwide problem of high power rates. After more than a decade of implementation, all indicators show that Epira failed to genuinely reform the power industry sector. It only strengthened the private sector’s control and oligopoly in the power industry. To rectify these grave injustices to the Filipino people, the immediate repeal of the Epira or Republic Act 9136 is strongly recommended,” the group said.
The group said for the past 12 years that the Epira has been in effect, electric power consumers and businesses throughout the country endured high power rates.
Without any public hearings or consultations, they said, automatic monthly adjustments in power rates were imposed by power distribution firms.
The Epira was envisioned to establish a liberalized and market-based power industry and promised to deliver a quality, reliable, secure and affordable supply of electricity for the public, the group said.
However, they said, the exact opposite happened under Epira, noting that the law has been proven to be “anti-people and pro-corporation law.”
The Epira, according to them, failed to genuinely reform the country’s power industry.
They added that power rates have doubled since the Epira was implemented.
According to a survey by the International Energy Consultants in 2011, the Philippines has one of the most expensive power rates in Asia-Pacific.
The Makabayan bloc is an alliance of the party-list groups Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Kabataan, ACT Teachers and Gabriela.