Saturday, December 7, 2013

Highest power rate hike not acceptable, unjust

Press Release
December 7, 2013

The Partido ng Manggagawa, a member of labor coalition Nagkaisa, rejects the impending power rate hike of P4.15/kwh in the Meralco area based on the following grounds:

1.    This is unconscionable, an act of economic terror amid calamities, deepening inequality and poverty in the country.

2.    This is unjust.  When imposed, the P4.15 rate adjustment will be the highest in Philippine history.  This will also be the highest residential rate in the world.

3.    This is unfair.  Workers in NCR were only granted P10 per day or P260 per month under Wage Order No. 18.  The P4.15/kwh increase in Meralco rate is additional P830 burden for households consuming 200 kwh per month.

4.    The rate hike, on the contrary, cannot be imposed arbitrarily by Meralco as explained earlier by Malacanang.  Meralco has to secure the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

5.    The steep hike could have been prevented.  The Malampaya shutdown is not due to force majeure.  It is part of regular biannual maintenance therefore expected and has already been factored in in Meralco’s power supply agreements (PSA) with its suppliers, particularly First Gas’ Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo and Kepco Ilijan.  The PSA should have included provisions on “replacement power”.

Based on First Gen’s submission to the Philippine Stocks Exchange (PSE) on March 20, 2012, it was explained that,“Although the Sta. Rita plant is intended to operate on natural gas, if delivery of natural gas is delayed or interrupted for any reason, the plant has the ability to run on liquid fuel for as long as necessary without adverse impact to its operation or revenues.” The same business model goes with San Lorenzo.

6.    This is market failure.   Collusion among generation companies, which has been the name of the game under EPIRA, is most possible after the Malampaya shutdown to drive prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) up.

7.    This is failure in governance.  The government, particularly the Department of Energy, should not have allowed this artificial shortage as a result of simultaneous shutdowns of power plants following the shutdown of Malampaya. 

Inihahalintulad namin ang delubyong ito bilang panibagong kalamidad dala ng kasakiman ng mga kumpanya ng kuryente na walang pinipiling panahon para gawin ang kanilang pandaramobong, at sa gubyerno na sa lahat ng panahon ay natutulog sa pansitan.

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