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LKI 13th Press Statement on Electricity

Amidst recent unplanned power plant outages, consumer group calls on electricity spot market operator to present price collusion in electricity prices.

(The theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2019, March 15, 2019, is “Trusted Smart Products”) Laban Konsyumer Inc. President Atty. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba expressed alarm at the two recent Yellow Alerts raised this week on Tuesday and on Thursday. The group said “the two yellow alerts in one week alone means that the spot market operator should prevent and guard against the potential of price collusion by the market participants during times of high demand this summer and tight available supply in the electricity spot prices “. Dimagiba demanded “ disclosure and transparency from the independent market operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market to publish the settlement prices during the days where Yellow and Red Alerts are raised and when there are unplanned power outages . It is the duty of the market operator at all times to ensure a competitive market behavior among spot market participants especially on period of tight supply and to police the spot market participants against taking advantage of the tight supply on collusion in the spot market prices . At the end of the day, consumers pay the bills and so they need to be informed and empowered and that is why there must be transparency“. Dimagiba recalled that in the past the electricity spot market was subject of investigation on anti competitive practices and spot prices manipulation.

In a recent statement as well, the group assailed the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation or PSALM for the similar issue of lack of transparency to consumers on the matter of the Universal Charges reversal by Distribution utilities and electric cooperatives , in which consumers were left in confusion about what the reversal of cost really meant to them in terms of a lower universal charges . In the case of Meralco customers, there were reversals of the universal charges collected in December 2018 and January 2019 bills in the February bills. However , Dimagiba added that in his Batalec bill in Batangas, there was no reversal of the universal charge collected in December 2018. “ What about the rest of the consumers all over the country, Dimagiba asked.“