THE Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) announced that there will be an increase in power rates starting this month.

DLPC said it will impose the eight-centavo increase per kilowatt hour as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission. According to Bienamer Garcia, vice president for Administration and Retail Services, the increase is an offshoot of their application in 2007 but was only approved by the commission this year. He said if they will not impose the increase, they stand to lose P11 million.

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The last time Davao Light increased its rate was in 2000, an increase based on its assets and investments in 2000.

John Birondo, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Mindanao, however, insists there is no need to increase the rates, calling this as nothing but one face of the capitalist greed that government is part of.

Maybe yes, maybe no. But one thing is sure: the consumer can control the amount of power he uses.

While indeed the increase will cut into our budget, this increase should also be taken as a reminder to cut down on our consumption of energy. Conserve.

With post-modern technology upon us, there is a lot of wastefulness going on. To continue consuming so much unnecessary energy, like staying online 24/7, will just push demand higher, push the need for greater investment even higher to cope with the demand, and consequently push the rates further upward.

Let this increase make us ponder on how much energy do we really need for our everyday lives? Is it really necessary to use the computers non-stop? Do we really have to turn on all our appliances? Do we really need all those lights?

With all the conveniences we have been enjoying, matched with relatively cheap power rates for so many years, we forgot that by simply turning off a light, we are already conserving energy.

The past months have shown us that our power supply is not infinite and that our cheap hydroelectric sources can dry up.