Lawmaker upholds city’s plea against power hike-A A +A
Monday, July 2, 2012
A LAWMAKER said that public must not allow power companies to increase power rates, noting this is a “disaster.”
Bayan Muna Congressman Teddy Casiño, during the launching of the “People Power Laban sa Dengue” campaign in Iloilo, also discussed with some local business and consumer group leaders the 32-centavo power rate hike of the Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) that was approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
“While we welcome the Iloilo City Government’s motion for reconsideration and deferment filed at the ERC, this does not permanently stop the implementation of the projected P0.32-per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) increase filed by PEDC,” Casiño said.
Casiño said it would be a “man-made disaster” for the residential consumers and small and medium enterprises to allow the increase to happen for the so-called P692-million under-recoveries supposedly incurred by PEDC for “testing and commissioning its coal-fired power plant” in Iloilo City.
“Why should Ilonggos pay for a dirty source of power? Why should businesses suffer with power rate hikes for electricity that they did not use?” the lawmaker said.
The ERC granted the petition filed by PEDC and Panay Electric Co. (Peco) for the approval of their power supply agreement, ordering the PEDC to collect for a period of at least five years an additional P0.32 per kWh starting August 2012 to mitigate the impact of under-recoveries on the consumers.
“There is something completely wrong here. PEDC promised a significant decrease in power rates once its coal plant becomes operational. The coal plant became operational on January 2011. But PEDC petitioned for a P0.45 increase in the generation charge around June 2011,” he said.
“In March 2012, PEDC again petitioned for another P0.35 increase in the generation charge. The latest is P0.32-per-kWh hike effective on July 2012. Transmission and distribution charges also increased in the past year, bringing current charges to the P11-P13 range that is almost equivalent to the diesel plant rates. This evidently shows that the coal plant did not lower power rates as promised,” Casiño added.
Casiño also noted that the total generation capacity of the PEDC coal-fired plant is 164 megawatts (MW) that is way above the average 75 to 80-MW demand of Iloilo City.
“This is a great injustice. We will not be a prosperous community and country if we have power rates that spiral upward. The city and National Government should not allow this man-made economic disaster to continue,” Casiño said. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 03, 2012.