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LKI PRESS STATEMENT 2020-029
MAY 23, 2020
LABAN KONSYUME JOINS CONGRESS JOINT ENERGY COMMITTEE MEETING AND SUBMITS POSITION PAPER
“ The PIPPA presenter, in the opinion of Laban Konsyumer is “an eye opener for an inquiry into anti-competitive behavior of the generation sector of the power industry by the Philippine Competition Commission. Thrusting the national government into claims of possible defaults to loans of foreign lenders to the industry, is a threat, ungentlemanly and flexing of muscle amidst a pandemic “
In a public statement today, consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) and its President Atty. Vic Dimagiba thanked Senator Win Gatchalian and Congressman Lord Velasco for a “comprehensive and exhaustive Joint meetings that lasted almost 6 hours via the Webex video app, as the Meeting were able to drill down and tackle major and important energy issues, issues that would greatly affect customers and the Filipino consumer.”
Dimagiba stated that moving forward and the direction Congress will tackle, he quoted, we must highlight the DOE Usec Wimpy Fuentabella presentation when it said “Low payment turnout for power sector may happen and may require fiscal support.” In this regard, Laban Konyumer proposed to divert the 208 billion pesos of Malampaya funds earmarked under the Murang Kuryente Act for the COVID 19 recovery and stimulus projects. Dimagiba added that the funds are unused and consumers have not benefited from the Murang Kuryente Act as of date. Sen Gatchalian noted the proposal.
During the Energy Policy Submission to Joint Congressional Energy Commission, the group’s position paper included the proposal to finish deliberation on the ERC reorganization, including repealing all universal charges including missionary charges, breaches in the spot market by PIPPA members last year should be endorsed to PCC for review on anti-competitive behavior and violation and transfer to the Philippine Competitive Commission on the exclusive and primary powers to investigate and decide illegal price manipulation.
The PIPPA presenter, in the opinion of Dimagiba is “an eye opener for an inquiry into anti-competitive behavior of the generation sector of the power industry by the Philippine Competition Commission. Thrusting the national government into claims of possible defaults to loans of foreign lenders to the industry, is a threat, ungentlemanly and flexing of muscle amidst a pandemic “.
Laban Konsyumer also submitted a proposal to amend the oil deregulation law and revoke current oil pricing formula that results to same weekly adjustments of retail prices, whether refinery or traders/importers. They also proposed the transfer to PCC the exclusive and primary powers to investigate and decide illegal acts of price manipulation.
Dimagiba also proposed that the utility bill of consumers up to 200 kWh per month should receive government subsidy.
Dimagiba laments that the grid operator, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines or NGCP, have not remedied the transmission fluctuations situation in Mindanao that had occurred even prior to Covid 19 despite the abundant supply of power resources. Yet NGCP have been collecting the full transmission charges, including the wheeling rates that NGCP keeps, as well as ancillary services fees, yet the power situation in Mindanao is very unstable, and could cause transmission outages this November.
On the Meralco “bill shock story “, Laban Konsyumer believes that this is primarily due to the failure of the advisories issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission which did not require Distribution utilities and cooperatives to “ unbundle in details “ compliance to the directives in the reading, billing and payment of the bills during the quarantine period.