Ball on Sec. Petilla’s Court in Reducing Electricity Rates

David Celestra Tan
16 December 2014

It was a wonderful show of consumer sensitivity on the part of current Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla to have called for a multi-sectoral task force to look for ways to reduce electricity prices.

That task force, meeting only once a month, for six months have finally come up with a consolidated recommendations done by the Philippine Institute of Developmental Studies, a supposed Academme think tank, to be turned over to the Honorable Secretary Petilla last November 20, 2014. It was however cancelled I heard because Sec. Petilla had other more urgent things to attend to, perhaps the emergency powers.

The ideas and proposals for power cost reduction were submitted by Meralco, the IPP Association, PIDS, Government Watch, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, NEA, ERC and Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance which made a detailed and definitive reduction target of P3 per kwh from Meralco’s rate of P12.37 in July 2014.

Now the ball is on the court of Secretary Petilla. Is reducing power cost really high on the priority of his tenure as Energy Secretary and by the administration of President Aquino? Is putting our beloved country on the road to more competitive power a legacy that they are aspiring to leave for millions of Filipinos?

Secretary Petilla has done more in pursuing reforms for competitive power than the last three energy secretaries combined. He is at least pursuing them. An open bidding for bilateral power supply contracts called DASAP. An auctioning of RE projects. And hopefully deeper and meaningful reforms of the trading rules of the WESM of which the DOE is in charge.

I am sure at some point Sec. Petilla will be available for the hand-over of the adopted recommendations to reduce power costs in the country. He might even be able to fit it in during this busy Christmas seasons of parties and holidays.

The real issue will be what will he do with it. Will the DOE’s focus in the coming months in the use of the Presidential Emergency Power that was recently passed by the legislature? We just have to give the good Secretary the benefit of the doubt that the reason he formed the task force is so he can have some input to work with. The consumers and the commercial and manufacturing sector will be waiting.

The ball is on Secretary Petilla’s court.

But that is on the government side. MSK would like to assure its members and all Meralco consumers that it will be pursuing its own advocacies for the reduction of the rates. We will be filing a series of Petitions for changes in regulatory rules with the appropriate government agencies mainly the Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy.

Keeping our fingers crossed.

Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc.

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