Progressive groups call for cheaper, cleaner electricity for Christmas

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Progressive groups protested against the “onerous setup in the generation and distribution of ebution of electricity,” stating that they would rather spend their bonuses on their loved ones rather than expensive electricity bills amidst the Christmas season.

According to an Inquirer report, groups brought half-filled plates of Noche Buena items that signified how the “cost of electricity is eating into their Christmas budgets.”

“Today, coal and other fossil fuels dominate our power mix not because they are the best option to consumers, but because contracts for these fuels are more profitable for private power companies. Even as government officials, including the President himself, mutter promises of tapping into cleaner energy sources, even as the negative impact to health and the climate of burning fossil fuels become ever more apparent and vicious towards Filipinos, they find their promises hard to keep because the government handles neither the generation nor distribution of power,” Women’s group, Oriang, spokesperson Oyette Zacate was quoted as saying in the report.

Similarly, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) noted how Noche Buena is becoming a luxury as families struggle to afford basic needs.

“Filipinos are known for their love of the yuletide season, and Christmas is one of the few times in the year breadwinners ensure that the table is filled a little more full than usual so their family members can have a good time. Costly electricity and other utility bills are taking away an important part of our culture,” PMCJ Coordinating Council Member Flora Santos expressed in the report.

Freedom from Debt Coalition Executive Director Zeena Manglinong stated that consumers are left to fend for themselves,  notinghow rotational brownouts as well as red and yellow alerts did not stop power companies from raising electricity prices.

Power for People Coalition Convenor Gerry Arances, on the other hand, said that the Electricity and Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2000 needs to be reviewed in a bid to call for accountability from power corporations’ “abusive practices” and, likewise, pass a legislation that would make the energy sector into a “pro-consumer” sector.

“When consumers are unable to afford their costly electricity bills, it is not their supply that should be cut off but the monopolizing power of private players,” Arances said in the report.

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