Consumer group slams ERC on inaction over FIT-All concerns

Increase in power rates seen as effect of TRAIN law

The recent suspension of the four Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) officials derailed petitions to abolish the Feed-In Tariff Allowance or FIT-All, a consumer group said.

The Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) in a statement said that the suspension of the ERC commissioners put further delays on the consumer group’s petitions filed in 2016 and 2017, emphasizing the lengthened burden on consumers due to the unjustified FIT-All charges.

LKI President Atty. Victorio A. Dimagiba said that despite the “roadblock” on his group’s petitions, they will continue to call on the attention of the government to relieve “the burden on consumers.”

“We truly hope that there will be action already on the issue on FIT-All, which is actually a more pressing concern. LKI stands with what is best for consumers, and we hope we do not lose focus on an equally, or even more pressing matter which is Fit-All,” Dimagiba said.

Recently, LKI filed for the reconsideration of the Decision of the Honorable Commission dated February 27, 2018 on the increase of price in FIT-All. LKI stated in its motion that the decision of the ERC should be “null and void” and “without legal effect” as it violated the rights stated in the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution which mandates that: “(n)o person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the law.”

In a decision dated February 27, ERC approved an increase of P0.0733 per kilowatt hour-(kWh) of FIT-All, which  increased the overall RE subsidy rate to P0.2563 per kWh from P0.1830 per kWh.

LKI criticized this increase which will be implemented in June 2018 billings.

“It is evident that TRANSCO failed to comply with the notice and republication requirements of the Commission when it recalculated and asked (during the expository presentation of the present case) for a higher FIT-All rate of PhP0.2481/kWh. Such recomputation should have been republished as it was a substantial change to the application filed by TRANSCO,” Dimagiba said.

Dimagiba clarified that the group’s movements are not against FIT-All as the group concluded the motion by saying that LKI wanted a lasting solution to make sure consumers are not short-ended.

“Our consumer group has been actively working to protect the rights of consumers and ensuring that their welfare is of utmost priority in the eyes of government, regulators and private corporations. The increase in FIT-All will only exacerbate the already difficult situation that our fellow Filipino consumers are experiencing, with prices everywhere going up,” he said.

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