BAWAL SIKRETO: Consumer group calls for transparency in power rates


Consumer group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) is calling the government to prioritize the country’s power supply to address power costs for consumers, especially during the coming summer months when demand could go higher.

The group said that further negligence on the issue of energy supply could result in distribution utilities buying higher priced power from the spot market.

“If there is more supply, there is less pressure for rates to go higher, especially during the summer months,” the group said in a statement.

“Simultaneous, prolonged power plant outages, coupled with rising demand due to warmer temperature and election-related activities will possibly lead to higher rates for power consumers,” it added.

LKI President Vic Dimagiba said the government should provide consumers a list of all power plants that are scheduled for shutdown in order to give consumers time to prepare.

“We observed that there is where the problem occurs, when there is a sudden, simultaneous shutdown of power plants and the prices in the spot market go up,” he said.

On January 27, the group proposed to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to conduct a review of rate adjustments and inform the consumers that the adjustments are following the mechanism guidelines.

“The greater transparency and sharing of information to the consumers by the Commission is very important,” LKI said.

LKI said ERC, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the spot market operators, and generating plants should have “greater transparency and sharing of information.”

“We sincerely propose that the Commission introduce meaningful changes on ensuring the consumers right to accurate and timely information on matters relating to power rate,” the group said.

The consumer group cited concerns over inadequate power supply resulting in price hikes in the upcoming summer months and election period when power rates historically go up at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, the country’s trading floor of electricity.

“All stakeholders should meet to ensure there is adequate and reliable supply during summer and midterm elections and to ensure minimal impact on consumers,” LKI said.