In light of the yellow alert issued today, the consumer group , Laban Konsyumer Inc. called for more transparency from ERC and DOE regarding plant outages and power situation. The group asked for daily updates on the status of power plants so that consumers can monitor the power situation of the grid on a daily basis. LKI President Vic Dimagiba highlighted the need for information regarding the white, yellow, and red alert statuses.
The group suggested that “more capacity or supply should bring down power rates for consumers. 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, especially during the summer months.”
Dimagiba said “It would be best if the government could provide consumers a list of all the plants and an inventory of when these power plants scheduled shutdown . There should be contingeny 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 wrote the ERC on January 27, 2019 and proposed that the Commission conducts the real time review of rate adjustments and inform the consumers that the adjustments are in compliance of the rate adjustment mechanism guidelines.
The greater transparency and sharing of information to the consumers by the Commission is very important. We observed that the Manila Electric Company or Meralco conduct a monthly briefing on power rates , but we hardly hear the Commission, the NGCP , the spot market operator and the generating plants inform consumers of their power rates. We sincerely propose that the Commission introduce meaningful changes on ensuring the consumers right to accurate and timely information on matters relating to power rate.
Looking ahead, Dimagiba stated that they are highly concerned about distribution utilities that may have to source additional power leading to the summer months and midterm elections. Simultaneous, prolonged power plant outages, coupled with rising demand due to warmer temperature and election-related activities will possibly lead to higher rates for power consumers. Power rates historically go up at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, the country’s trading floor of electricity, during summer months because of the tightness in supply.
All stakeholders should meet to ensure there is adequate and reliable supply during summer and midterm elections and to ensure minimal impact on consumers.