Consumer group asks BBM to resolve ‘anomalous situation’ in power sector, cites sky high rates being charged by ECs

The National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms (NASECORE) is urging President Bongbong Marcos to step in and resolve the “anomalous” and unfair situation in the electricity sector.

NASECORE president Pete Ilagan said Marcos should order the ERC to look into the generation rates of electric cooperatives, which have been rising, as well as the pass-through provisions which allow for automatic price adjustments.

Ilagan took exception to ERC’s decision denying the joint petition of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to increase rates under their 2019 power supply agreement (PSA).

“Ironically, ERC reined in the two power generators with the slightest increase in generation charges but tolerated the higher rate of the other Meralco suppliers and the runaway charges of most electric cooperatives,” Ilagan said.

“Sad to say, this is the very opposite of applying the ‘least cost’ principle under the EPIRA, and most importantly, does not serve the public interest,” Ilagan said.

He said consumers are saddled with ERC-approved PSAs that allow “outrageous increases” in the generation charge but disallow supply in the least cost manner.

ERC denied the application of SMC and Meralco to increase rates to about P5.41 per kWh from P4.045 per kW.

Ilagan said Meralco’s average or blended rates remained high at P6.9393 per KWh in September because SMC’s South Premiere Power Corp. and San Miguel Energy Corp. are only two of the 12 suppliers “with the rest continuing to charge sky-high rates without any kind of restraint.”

He said the PSAs of the other suppliers have pass-through provisions which allow for automatic price adjustments.

Ilagan cited as an example Quezon Power Phil. Ltd., whom he alleged had the highest rate at P13.34 per kWh.

He said SMEC and SPPC offered significantly lower rates at P3.74 and P4.27 per kWh in September.

“Public interest dictates that these other suppliers taking advantage of the pass-thru provision must be reined in as well by the ERC,” he said.