In a public statement today, consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) President Vic Dimagiba reiterated its earlier appeal for the National Government to include payment of the utilities bills of the Covid 19 cash grantees. The electricity bills of all consumers shall be payable in 4 installments under an ERC Advisory. The supplemental budget support for the purpose shall be spread out in 4 months. A Government payment guarantee shall prevent Utilities Company from cutting off power and water services to the Covid 19 beneficiaries.
Dimagiba reiterated its appeal as it expressed dismay at the Advisory issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission that requires all Distribution Utilities and electric cooperatives “to procure approved minimum contracted capacity and fixed costs”.
Said ERC Advisory affirmed the decision of the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association Inc. (PIPPA) which turned down a proposal for power-generation companies to accept a force majeure (FM) provision of their power- supply agreements (PSAs) with distribution utilities (DUs) and electric cooperatives (ECs).
Earlier, Meralco invoked the Force Majeure provision in its Power Supply Contracts for the duration of the ECQ and this resulted to a reduction in generation charges and minimize increase in this month electric bills. The bigger reduction is yet to be felt by the consumers in the next billing cycle as the full 30 days lockdown period from March 25 to April 25, 2020 shall be computed in the electricity bills.
However, Paragraph 10 of the ERC Advisory effectively restrained and stopped the power plants and the utilities to pass on to the consumers the least cost amidst Covid 19 so that electricity consumers should be spared from paying fixed charges for generation capacity that was not consumed by the utilities and cooperatives.