DOE, ERC told: Stop conditioning public’s mind on power rate hike
Bayan Muna on Friday said that the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) should stop “conditioning the mind of the public” on the supposed power rate hike due to the shutdown of Malampaya for maintenance, following Meralco’s announcement on Thursday of its P0.27 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) decrease for this month.
Carlos Isagani, Bayan Muna representative said in a statement that they want the public to believe that the minimal decrease in power supply would be compensated by a “big time power rate hike” as a condition under the Malampaya maintenance shutdown.
“May maliit kang decrease ngayon tapos big time power rate hike naman ang kinukundisyon nilang kapalit,”Isagani said.
(You have a minimal supply decrease now, but a big time power rate hike will come after because that is their condition in exchange.)
He said that this is unfair for the consumers, because the generation companies should be the ones responsible for the additional costs, instead of passing the burden to the consumers.
“Napaka-unfair nito para sa mga consumers. Hindi natin kinikwestyon kung bakit may maintenance checkup; ang tinututulan natin ay bakit sa consumers ito ipinapasa dahil dapat ay sagot ito ng mga gencos,” he added.
(This is very unfair to the consumers. We are not questioning why there is a maintenance checkup; what we are opposing is why they should pass this to the consumers when the generation companies should be the ones responsible for this burden.)
He also questioned why generation companies are doing this when, in contrast, jeepney or bus operators do not charge the maintenance fees of their vehicles to the commuting public.
“Bakit ganito ang ginagawa ng mga generation companies? Ang mga drivers nga ay nakapako pa din sa P7 ang pasahe pero ilang beses [nang] nagtataas ang presyo ng diesel at gasolina kaya dapat ang mga kumpanya din ang sumalo na sa gastos ng mas mataas na presyo nilang gasolina,” Isagani said.
(Why are generation companies doing this? Jeepney drivers are still stuck with P7 fare, despite the several diesel and gasoline price hikes. The companies should shoulder the additional expense on their fuel products.)
In December last year, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that consumers will likely experience an estimate of P1/kwh increase in electricity due to Malampaya power’s maintenance shutdown this year.
Bayan Muna cited this as one of the reasons why they are calling to junk Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), and is pushing for the government to control the energy sector.
If the supposed increase pushes through, in addition to other factors like power plants shutdowns that could also happen during this period, Isagani said that they may have to bring the issue to the Supreme Court.