Friday, September 23, 2011

Business, labor groups want roadmap to bring down power costs

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 09/23/2011 6:24 PM | Updated as of 09/23/2011 6:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Business, labor and academe groups have called on the Aquino government to come up with a roadmap to address the high cost of electricity in the country.

Officials of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Foundation for Economic Freedom, the UP National Engineering Center and the Philippine Steelmakers Association said that power rates in the Philippines are now among the highest in the world.

They noted that the government has no specific or strong action program to address the problem.

They also warned that the continued increase in power rates might result in energy poverty, wherein poor households can no longer afford basic energy services to put food on the table.

The TUCP, for its part, claimed high electricity costs could even trigger another round of wage hike.

The groups are asking the government to stop or defer any rate hike petition pending before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), including the one by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., which seeks to recover the stranded debts and costs of National Power Corp.

They are also calling for the creation of a single power purchaser that will buy power from the cheapest supplier and auction this to distribution utilities like Manila Electric Co.

The groups want a review of the performance-based rate (PBR) setting scheme, a method that guarantees firms return on future investments.

They also want the government to defer development of high cost renewable energy like solar, wind and ocean, and focus on cheaper ones like biomass and run-of-the-river hydro.

Lastly, the groups asked leaders of the departments of energy and finance, the ERC and the Joint Congressional Power Commission to work together and address high power rates with a sense of urgency.

No comments:

Post a Comment