New power rates meant to minimize PEMC’s losses – militant solon
MANILA, Philippines – A militant solon said the regulated power rates set by the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) was meant only to minimize losses and not to spare the public from the pending power rate hike.
In a statement on Wednesday, Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares said PEMC only wanted to lessen its losses after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) highest power rate hike.
Colmenares noted this was the case as PEMC is composed of generation companies.
In compliance with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) order on March 3, PEMC said it set the new spot market rates at P6.007 (76.35 percent lower) than the P25.404 per kWh for the billing month of December.
For the billing month of January, the applicable PEMC rate was changed to P6.246 (77.98 percent lower) than the original P28.367 per kWh.
PEMC also regulated the generation and related charges to P2.43 per kilowatt hour from the previous P4.15 per kWh for December, and to P3.02 per kWh from the original P5.33 per kWh for January.
“While some people say that cutting the price hike by half is already a major victory, that such a large amount taken from the Meralco rate hike will help a lot, we assert that the people do not deserve to pay any rate increase,” Colmenares said.
“As it is an increase no matter how small is still a burden to consumers,” the solon, who was also a petitioner against Meralco, added.
The PEMC operates the wholesale electricity spot market, from which Meralco bought power several times during the Malampaya natural gas field shut down. Meralco was accused of price manipulation for its high bids in the spot market.
Colmenares said the price adjustment was not enough because there should have been no power rate increase in the first place. The solon has accused Meralco of colluding with generation companies and power players to jack up prices.
He also criticized that it would still be up to Meralco to determine the impact of PEMC’s rates to its pass-through generation charge and related taxes.
In an interview over Inquirer Radio 990 AM on Wednesday, ERC Executive Director Francis Saturnino Juan said the agency is expecting Meralco’s computations soon.