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Consumer group seeks transparency in power rate adjustments

MANILA — Consumer group Laban Konsyumer, Inc. (LKI) is asking the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to be more transparent in its decision-making regarding power rate adjustments while at the same time ensuring that such price changes are in compliance with government guidelines.

LKI President Victorio Mario Dimagiba said the group has proposed to the ERC that it adopts real-time review of rate adjustments.

“The greater transparency and sharing of information to the consumers by the Commission is very important,” Dimagiba said.

“We observed that the Manila Electric Company or Meralco conducts a monthly briefing on power rates, but we hardly hear the Commission, the NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines), the spot market operator, and the generating plants inform consumers of their power rates,” he said.

Aside from informing the consumers about the rate adjustments, the group urged government to provide the public with a list of power plants and their scheduled shutdown.

“There should be contingency plans in place for unscheduled outages due to technical problems and/or force majeure. We observed that there is where the problem occurs, when there is a sudden, simultaneous shutdown of power plants and the prices in the spot market go up,” Dimagiba said.

Further, LKI pushes for ensuring more energy supply and capacity to bring down power cost, especially this coming summer months as well as during the mid-term elections.

“If we do not address this problem now, distribution utilities will be forced to buy higher priced power from the spot market. If there is more supply, there is less pressure for rates to go higher,” Dimagiba said. (PNA)