Costly mistake: Ex-ERC exec tells why rejection of SMC power rate hike won’t benefit customers

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) may have made a costly mistake when it rejected the request of ultra bilyonaryo Ramon S. Ang’s San Miguel Corp. for a temporary hike in electricity rates.

Pete Ilagan, head of the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms (NASECORE) and a former ERC commissioner, said the rejection of the relatively softer price increase requested by San Miguel Power units to cover higher fuel costs could result in an even bigger increase in the electricity bills of consumers.

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Ilagan explained that San Miguel’s offer of a little over than P3 increase per kilowatt hour (kWh) will put their rates at P6, versus the bids of Meralco, AboitizPower, and DMCI which range between P7.80 to P10.22 per kWh.

“The bad news is walang ipinakita ang ERC at Meralco that would match the proposed price increase of San Miguel and SPPC. New bidders should match this lowest para sa consumer interest will always be the benchmark,” Ilagan told CNN Philippines.

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“Kung hindi matatapatan yun, mawawalang-saysay yung denial (ng rate increase),” he added.

If San Miguel were to stop providing power to Meralco, the distribution firm would be forced to tap the costlier bids of other conglomerates or buy from the wholesale electricity spot market at a rate of P8.94 per kWh.