Marcos Admin asked to define energy agenda

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The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has called on the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to define its agenda on energy supply security and affordable power costs amid rising prices in the industry. 

“Power supply shortage has become a regular occurrence, especially during the summer months when the output of our hydroelectric power plants decreases significantly.  But a more pressing concern is our power rate.  Industries such as steel, cement, and glass have expressed their apprehension to us over how much electricity rates are forecasted to increase as the supply for reliable baseload like coal, oil and LNG are becoming a scarce commodity,” PCCI president George Barcelon said in a statement. 

The PCCI cited a study saying that residential, commercial, and industrial power rates in the Philippines are higher by 25% to 87% versus its Southeast Asian neighbors, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

“Electricity paid for by consumers in Japan and Singapore is higher than ours but their economies are way ahead,” Barcelon said. 

The rising power prices pose a heavy impact on the manufacturing industry where fuel and power compromise around 60% of its operating costs, PCCI said. 

PCCI has also asked the new administration to conserve, rehabilitate, and upgrade the country’s energy resources that are qualified and effectively positioned like hydro, geothermal power, and liquefied natural gas (LNG). 

The organization also asked the government to expedite the approval process of new power plants “that fit the program of powering industries at an affordable level.” 

PCCI added that sustaining economic recovery from the pandemic while building reform measures to attract foreign investments would need the assurance of a “reasonably-priced and steady power supply capable of meeting production needs.” 

“PCCI acknowledged that addressing the country’s power woes is a big challenge that needs a concrete agenda, commitment, and the concerted effort and support of all stakeholders,” the organization said. 

In his inaugural address, Marcos acknowledges that the country is facing concerns in terms of power supply and that he plans to focus on renewable energy. 

Marcos Jr., however, has yet to appoint a chief for the Department of Energy.