Saang planeta nakatira? ERC rejects SMC rate hike plea despite Russia-Ukraine war’s impact on power

The Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) rejection of San Miguel Global Power’s petition to raise electricity rates showed how out of touch it is with the times, completely ignoring the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on electricity supply.

Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao slammed ERC, including its chairperson ex-AboitizPower executive Monalisa Dimalanta, for insisting that bilyonaryo Ramon Ang’s power generation firm should stick to its contracted price with Meralco set pre-pandemic.

“On what planet do the three ERC commissioners live?,” Tiglao said, referring to Dimalanta and two commissioners who voted to deny San Miguel’s modest rate hike petition.

“If nuclear war breaks out between the US and China — which will engulf us because of the “temporary” US military bases here — resulting in the stoppage of coal and oil imports to the country, the ERC will still insist that SMEC continue its operations at pre-war prices or suffer very stiff penalties if there is no law passed recognizing a state of war exists in the region,” he added, noting that the Russia-Ukraine conflict is exactly a “change in circumstance” affecting all power industry players worldwide.

Tiglao compared SMC’s petition to hike power rates to petitions filed by transportation groups to raise fares for public transportation.

“If fuel prices double, or when the cost of spare parts drastically increase due to a major peso depreciation, they can ask the LTFRB for a change in the erstwhile ‘fixed rates,’ Their only other option would be to stay home, and find another job — and leave commuters without transportation,” he added.

San Miguel stopped supplying power to Meralco on December 7 after its petition for a temporary restraining order was granted by the Court of Appeals. As a result, the Luzon and Visayas grids were placed on yellow alert due to thin reserves.

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