Think tank warns of power shortage, rate increases in the coming months

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – Power rates are seen to shoot up in the coming months along with a series of power interruptions, according to the group Infrawatch PH.

It’s because the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has not approved all six new power supply agreements which Meralco is eyeing to source its supply from.

According to former congressman now Infrawatch PH Convenor Terry Riddon, ERC should have decided on the agreement as early as November 22.

But until now, the agreements have not yet been finalized even as Meralco’s power supply agreement (PSA) are set to expire on December 26.

This would likely result in power shortage and power rate increase in the coming months, according to Riddon.

“Natatakot po tayo na pagka nag-lapse po yung mga kontrata ng ilan pong tinatawag na PSAs ay kukuha po tayo ng kuryente sa spot market (It worries us that once the PSAs expires, we will need to source our electricity from the spot market),” he explained.

“Siyempre alam naman po natin kapag hindi contracted price may tendency na sumipa yung presyo ng kuryente (And as we all know, contracted price could result in power rate hikes),” he added.

But ERC denied stalling the new PSA as they received the applications only in October 22 this year.

Under the law, ERC has at least 75 days to issue a provisional authority on such type of agreements.

“Hindi ko alam kung saan nanggaling yung notion na nagkakaroon ng delay, (I don’t know from where that notion of a delay came from),” defended ERC Spokesperson Florinda Digal.

“Kapag file ng application sine-set namin for hearing, so may aksyon na kami. I think hindi lang naipaliwanag sa kanila na may proseso kasi bawat application na pina-file dito sa amin and gumagalaw yung application in accordance with the procedure,” she explained further.

(Once the application is filed, we set the hearing right away, so there’s action. I think, it was not explained to them properly that there is a process to follow and that the application is working in accordance with the procedure.)

The ERC maintained that it will not allow any delays in contracts that could result in shortage of power supply and high electricity prices that would inconvenience consumers.

“This is what we want to assure the public whenever we receive applications tinitignan din namin kung ano yung magiging epekto nito at syempre hindi kami papayag na magkaroon ng deficiency sa supply just because something is pending with us,” Digal said.

(This is what we want to assure the public whenever we receive applications. We look at their effects and of course, we do not allow deficiencies in the supply just because something is pending with us.)

The UNTV News has tried to get the side of Meralco on the issue but the agency has not given a statement. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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