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LKI 2020-015 PRESS STATEMENT
April 2, 2020
CONSUMER GROUP CALLS ON GENCOS, PSALM AND NGCP TO LOWER POWER CHARGES AMIDST COVID 19
In a letter addressed to the Chairperson of the Energy Regulatory Commission, Atty . Agnes V.S.T. Devanader , of even date , the consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) and its President Atty. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba is proposing for the suspension of the collection of Universal Charges to consumers, in the amount of Php 0.0971/kwh for the duration of the lockdown and enhanced community quarantine. As the records show, Laban Consumer had filed a Petition with the ERC on the matter of the current Universal Charges to be assumed immediately by the Morang Kuryente Act, and the Chair had required Parties to file their Comment last March 3, 2010.
The group is also proposing that the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to defer the collection of ancillary services component of the transmission charges to consumers in consideration of the trials and hardships that the everyday customer is going through these past few weeks of the enhanced community quarantine.
Laban Konsyumer expressed its appreciation when the ERC issued a moto propio Order on March 17, 2020 directing the suspension of the collection of the FIT Allowance for one month beginning the next billing cycle. We are now proposing that the suspension be extended for the duration of the ECQ.
On March 26, 2020, we wrote the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association, Inc. proposing that Gencos bill utilities and cooperatives for actual power consumed to avoid payment for “ghost deliveries “ , in the light of the low consumption for power by consumers during the ECQ. In turn, utilities shall pass only to the consumers the actual billing of the Gencos. A copy of the letter was copied the ERC. As of date, no reply have been received from the PIPPA members.
The NGCP should expect ancillary service charges to go down because supply is well above demand. This means that the required level of reserves should be lower than under normal conditions. NGCP should strive to lower fixed costs associated with ancillary services. As providers should only be paid for actual delivery, and not for capacity that has been nominated but was not dispatched. NGCP has the obligation to look out for the best interest of its consumers, and protect their welfare as we suffer through this enhanced community quarantine and all its ramifications.
Laban Konsyumer believes that this is the best and appropriate moment for the energy regulator to be biased on the side of the consumers as the rate making mandate rests solely with the Energy Regulatory Commission .
The Department of Energy had made a series of announcement for stakeholders to continue a 100 % provisions of power during the ECQ. Those are operational matters that the DOE had taken.
However, the matter on billing rests solely with theERC.
As always, “ we appreciate the Commission past decisions favoring the consumers, and hope that the subject matter of the letter gets the ERC favorable action” , stressed Dimagiba .