Consumer Group pushes for transparency in petroleum prices and power plant maintenance

Power sector must be prepared for disaster impacts – DOE

The Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) is pushing for the transparency in retail prices of petroleum products, as well as the regular maintenance of power plants to provide consumers access to fair and reasonable pricing of petroleum products and electricity.

In a letter submitted to Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Alfonso Cusi, the consumer group expressed the need to unbundle the retail prices of petroleum products to give consumers the necessary information on the fair pricing of the products.

LKI president Vic Dimagiba said that the DOE has the authority go issue a circular mandating the unbundling of retail prices of petroleum products, even with the existence of the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998.

“We believe that the DOE Secretary is authorized to issue the circular mandating the unbundling of retail prices of petroleum products… Even under full deregulation, the DOE Secretary is authorized to ensure fair pricing of the petroleum products for the benefit and information of the consumers,” Dimagiba said.

DOE said earlier that it will come out with a circular ordering oil companies to unbundle their prices and explain their respective price adjustments.

In terms of power rates, LKI said the DOE “should publish the regular maintenance of the power plants and energy suppliers over the next 12 months and inform the consumers of the reasons for any unexpected shutdown, particularly during peak hours.”

The group added that forced outages and shutdowns regularly happen during the hot season and disclosing an accurate and on-time detailed information on the cause of shutdowns can dispel perception of any form of collusion among power plants and energy supplies