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Pass-on power costs bucked

June 18, 2024 Camille P. Balagtas 131 views

SENATOR Risa Hontiveros yesterday said the impending hike in generation charges from this month onward must be disallowed as the Department of Energy (DOE) and power companies must not pass on the cost of their failures to consumers.

“Making consumers pay for the failures of the energy sector sets a bad precedent. The upcoming power rate hike must be disallowed,” Hontiveros said. “Kapag ang jeep nga nasiraan, binabalik ng driver sa mga pasahero ang bayad. Tapos ang DOE at power companies palpak na nga, magdadagdag-singil pa imbes na managot sa taumbayan. Kaunting hiya naman po.”

Hontiveros said the DOE and power companies failed to prepare for the effects of El Niño on the operations of power plants, which has led to unplanned and forced outages of more than 30 plants prompting the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines to raise red and yellow alerts over the Luzon and Visayas grids.

This has also caused the cost of electricity to shoot up in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market which is planned to be passed on by Meralco to consumers at a rate of at least P0.50/kWh in June if staggered or P0.80 to P0.90/kWh in one payment.

“Hindi patas at makatao ang ginagamit na regulatory framework ng Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) sa ganitong mga pagkakataon, na kapag may tumirik na 30 planta sa anumang kadahilanan, o dahil sa kakulangan sa paghahanda dito ng pamahalaan at mga power companies ay sagutin ito ng consumers,” Hontiveros said.

She continued: “They say crisis is opportunity. Pero huwag naman sanang i-apply ito ng power companies natin sa pagpapatakbo ng kanilang negosyo at palobohin pa ang kanilang kita sa pamamagitan ng pananamantala at pagpapahirap sa consumers.”

Hontiveros recalled that the Senate’s investigation into the power crisis revealed several lapses on the part of the energy sector, including the lack of a contingency plan on the part of DOE, abandoning the use of the Loss of Load Probability method to plan the country’s power supply since the enactment of EPIRA, the ERC lacking the ability to check the capacity of power plants, and the weak penalties imposed on power players that do not fulfill their obligations.