Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate is calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to direct the review of several pending Meralco-linked power supply agreements for coal-fired power plants to ensure the applications undergo careful scrutiny despite fears of power supply shortage.
The Luzon grid was put under red alert status for three consecutive days, which resulted in rotational brownouts in some areas.
“Nababahala tayo doon sa statement noong nakaraang araw ng Meralco na dapat nang buksan talaga ang nakabinbin na power plant applications, especially coal-fired power plants (We are concerned over Meralco’s statement the other day that these power plants with pending applications, especially the coal-fired power plants, must be opened),” Zarate was quoted in a Manila Bulletin report.
“We know that up to now, there are seven PSAs from Meralco that are questionable. We appeal to the ERC to not be pressured into approving these seven PSAs, he said.
The said PSAs are connected to Meralco’s affiliated companies which are: Redondo Peninsula Energy, Inc. (which is applying for a 225-megawatt [MW] plant); Atimonan One Energy, Inc. (1,200 MW); St. Raphael power Generation Corporation (400 MW); Central Luzon Premiere Power Corporation (528 MW); Mariveles Power Generation Corporation (528 MW); Panay Energy Development Corporation (70 MW); and Global Luzon Energy Development Corporation (600 MW).
“Our appeal is that the ongoing power supply situation in the Luzon grid shouldn’t be turned into a hostage situation just for the purpose of approving these anomalous PSAs,” Zarate added.
Zarate said the power deals were “anomalous, disadvantageous to consumers, and not compliant with ERC’s own rules.”
“All PSAs should undergo a Competitive Selection Process,” he noted.
Zarate said that Atimonan One’s reported P15 billion interest on loans with the increased price on imported equipment would mean to a P1.80 per kilowatt hour (kWh) increase in capacity cost, that would present the plant’s power rate to P7.46 per kWh.
“This would be exorbitant compared to other players who offer electricity for as low as P2.95/kwh,” pointed out Zarate.
The ERC has put on hold the PSAs since April 2016.
The solon also questioned how the same group of power plants experienced shutdowns during summer.
“Why is it that they always have to break down at the same time when demand is highest? Di talaga masisisi ang consumers na mag-isip na niluluto ito para tumaas ang singil sa kuryente (We really can’t blame the consumers for thinking that the power plants are colluding in order to raise the cost of electricity),” he said.