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Gov’t, Meralco urged: Open biddings for power supply to other players

/ 06:36 PM March 14, 2017

A consumer group on Tuesday urged the government and Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to open competitive biddings for power supply to other players due to the latter’s power rate hike.

“There is sufficient time to hold a true competitive bidding now without jeopardizing the future supply of power,” Alyansa para sa Bagong Pilipinas (ABP) said in a statement.

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“It takes only one year or shorter to hold a proper bidding and coal and natural gas power plants take only 3 to 4 years to build,” the group added.

ABP called for a bidding “to assure sufficient power in the Meralco are in the future.” A bidding for natural-gas fueled supply, not only coal, is also being pushed.

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“The conducting of open competitive bidding for power supply contracts will open the generation sector to more truly independent power players, both local and foreign as called for by President (Rodrigo) Duterte,” ABP Secretary-General Aya Jallorina said.

“Allowing negotiations by Meralco is enabling its sister company Meralco PowerGen to monopolize and cartelize the generation sector and close it to all their non-partners. This hurts the consumers since the negotiated sweetheart prices between sister companies are obviously higher,” she added.

ABP noted the opening of the power generation sector will enable the entry of more efficient companies, modern technologies and other cheaper and cleaner sources of energy instead of being limited by the choice of one group, like Meralco PowerGen.

The group said that the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Board (ERC) have the responsibility to ensure that consumers and taxpayers are protected from abusive pricing of electricity, which happens when a distribution utility self-negotiates power supply and prices with its own sister companies.

“The price difference had been 10% to 20%. The government must make sure that the electricity rates to consumers are ‘least cost’ and the only way that can be achieved is by holding a truly competitive bidding,” it added.

The group also filed an intervention at the ERC on the same day against the power rate hike increase by the Meralco. RAM

READ: Lawmaker hits ERC on approval of ‘anomalous’ power rate hike

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TAGS: Biddings, Government, Manila Electric Co., MERALCO, power
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