Let’s Vote for Petilla and Neri for the Senate

All electric consumers of whatever leanings for the Presidency, Grace Poe, Mar Roxas, Duterte or Binay, or party, LP, UNA, NPC, PDP, must insert in their Senatorial Votes candidates Carlos Jericho Petilla (No. 41) and Neri Colmenares (No. 11).

Electric consumers, especially those in the Meralco area, have direct stakes in the candidacy of these two proven pro-electric consumer candidates who can push for needed legislative reforms to protect the electric consumers and work for the elimination of the flaws and loopholes of the current rules and laws that cause the current high Meralco rates.

Your organization, Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc. had been pushing for reforms in the rules to eliminate abuse and high power rates. We have filed position papers at the Department of Energy and filed petitions for rule changes at the Energy Regulatory Commission. We have tried to inform the public through any media outlets that will care for consumers. At some point there needs to be improvements at the source of all these consumer abuses which are the Power Laws that supposed guide these government policy and regulations. Even MSK’s call for the review and repeal of Rule 11 of the Epira IRR has been falling on deft ears at the JCPC.

Carlos Jericho Petilla is a former Energy Secretary who had demonstrated not only intellectual depth to understand the complex inner workings and laws of the power sector that lead to high rates, but the proven heart, courage, and integrity to stand up for the consumers in passing tough rules.

Petilla, Champion for a Truly Open and Competitive Power Generation Sector

As Energy Secretary Petilla took the bold step of changing the government’s long time policy of tolerating the self-negotiation of power generation contracts that lead to higher sweetheart prices being charged to the consumers. He instituted a gutsy Competitive Selection Process (CSP) policy at the risk of losing the support of the distributor-generator combines who are big potential contributors to election campaigns.

CSP is a monumental shift in government apathetic attitude towards the need to protect the electric consumers from the sweetheart prices that distribution utilities like Meralco are allowed to negotiate with the sister generators. It will lead to a reduction of P0.50 to P1.00 per kwh in the new contracted generation supply of Meralco. Thats 10’s of Billions a year in reduction in pass on generation charges to consumers.

Electric Consumers need this kind of industry knowledge, intellectual depth, and conviction to argue for reforms in the Senate floor, where consumers have not had a capable champion for at least 10 years. There has not been any Senatorial candidate like Ikot Petilla for a long time and electric consumers now have this rare opportunity to put someone in the Senate who is truly capable with proven industry knowledge, an innovative mind for solutions, and the resolve to push for what is for the best interest of the electric consumers. He even understands how the WESM spot market works and while have been working against the consumers.

This is our chance to have an effective voice in the Senate. Lets include Petilla in our Senatorial Votes. No. 41. If we don’t look after our consumer interest this election, who do we expect will?

Neri Colmenares, No. 11: A Public Interest Crusader who have Stood up for Electric Consumers

Remember when the Meralco consumers were about to be charged a horrendous additional P4.15 per kwh generation charge in January 2014? That’s a 90% jump in one month! Meralco had nonchalantly secured ERC approval and ERC incredulously approved it before Christmas of 2013!

It was only the timely and capable petition of Atty. Neri Colmenares and his Party-List Bayan Muna at the Supreme Court that stopped the whole conflagration that could have caused a major upheaval in the 25 million people Meralco area.

Neri successfully argued and secured a TRO and Meralco in evident attempt to save face, turned round and tried to blame the WESM and its power suppliers. It also led to the PEMC that manages the WESM market to move for investigation of the price spikes that reached P62 per kwh. Many power generators have been found to have engaged in illegal manipulation of the market. Coal plants mysteriously claimed downtime due to “boiler leaks”. (Those found guilty and charged penalties in the hundreds of millions in undue profits are predictably fighting them in courts, until probably the public forget the treasonous deeds!)

A lawyer, Neri had also consistently spoken for consumers on electric issues. He understands the dynamics and can be a valuable asset in the Senate for electric consumers.

Let’s Vote for Neri to the Senate. No. 11. Electric consumers need him!
MSK can only accomplish so much through the executive and regulatory departments. Sometime this year the battle will have to shift to the legislature, where all the loopholes emanate.

So whether you are for Grace, Mar, Duterte, Binay or even Miriam, Let us vote for Us ELECTRIC CONSUMERS by electing Petilla and Neri to the Senate!! We electric consumers need Petilla and Neri to protect us in the Senate.

Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance 

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What To Do With The 700mw Stranded Solar Projects?

David Celestra Tan,

16 April 2016

The solar industry lobby group, Solar Alliance is asking the DOE to extend the granting of the premium P8.67 per kwh FIT rate to those solar projects that failed to commission by the March 15, 2016 deadline but had finished 80% of their build-up works. They claim it is about 700mw. This would be on top of the 450mw that met the deadline.

Let us put these into perspective.

1. The 450mw of solar is most of the RE projects that is getting the generous FIT rate that so far is costing the consumers P0.12 per kwh in Renewable Energy Subsidy. That is from the initial P0.045 per kwh “promo rate”.

2. Now about 700mw solar that did not make the March 15, 2016 deadline is asking to be granted the same rate. How much will that cost the consumers? Note that a Feed In Tariff rate of P8.67 means a solar subsidy of at least P4.17 per kwh. That means a total of about P4.5 billion a year of subsidies that will be passed on to the consumers. This will be added to the 0.12 per kwh new FIT subsidy rate.

3. We realize that these solar investors have poured in probably P40 billion into their projects and they are 80% complete. However, they knew coming in that it is a race against time program. In fact it is likely that most of them knew already that they will not be able to build fast enough to meet the March 15, 2016 deadline. They took the risk and must take the consequence. Why should we stick the consumers with the bill for the gamble they took?

4. Having said that, we cannot ignore that these promoters and investors have facilities that are almost finished and in fact had DOE certifications. Perhaps the DOE and ERC must look at those Solar projects that were actually finished 100% but did not meet the March 15, 2016 because of failure to secure timely inspections, testings, and certifications from NGCP and ERC for COC. The government must take some responsibility for the regulatory delays.

5. As to those that are only 50 to 80% finished, we propose that those be allowed to participate in an auction under Competitive Selection Process with a 75 day completion deadline. At least the consumers will be assured of a competitively determined price with a maximum allowable rate of say P7.67 per kwh. This way the solar investors and the consumers would have a reasonable win-win situation. Some solar promoters claim that they can be profitable at P7.00 per kwh.

6. To protect the consumers, we also propose that these solar projects be given a maximum annual energy that they can deliver at the Fit Rate, not an open ended “all energy produced” type of deal that exposes the consumers to uncontrolled subsidy levels. Anything they produced above the eligible energy shall be paid at the market price. There are indications from grid data that solar actually produces energy as early as 9am to 5pm and not the claimed limit of 5 hours from 11 am to 4pm. This output was used to justify the first round of FIT Rate at 9.68 per kwh and the 2nd round of P8.67 per kwh.

At the promo rate of P0.045 per kwh, most of the RE projects are not being paid their full FIT rate. NREB, DOE, and ERC and of course the Philippine Solar Alliance knew all along that the FIT rate will have to rise. Yet they are calling for more and more solar under generous fit rates. The PEMC even released a study saying the consumers are actually benefitting a net of P4 billion a year from the increased supply of 682.9mw of RE to the grid. That benefit claim was based on a FIT subsidy of P0.045 per kwh. Clearly not the true subsidy that so far is P0.12 per kwh.

On top of these, NGCP will eventually have to buy load regulating ancillary services to compensate for the intermittence of solar. Another costs to the consumers caused by solar that must become part of the equation on its costs and benefits. Another hoodwinking of the DOE, ERC, and the consumers. Et tu NREB and PEMC?

The Philippine Solar Alliance is not only lobbying for these 700mw of stranded solar projects but calling for up to 2,000 mw as a solution to the energy supply needs of the country. That is like solving a short term problem with a long 20 year solution and subsidy costs.

Let us not forget that the cost of solar goes beyond the FIT. Meralcos rate is increasing because of the P0.12 per kwh RE subsidy. Would these RE subsidies reach P0.48 per kwh if the lobbyists get their way?

Once again, we are not against clean energy and solar. We feel however that since the industry has matured and the energy efficiency of these RE projects have been proven with empirical operating data under Philippine soil (of sun and wind) that all these, at a minimum. must now be subjected to a proper CSP.

Talking about CSP, now we are wondering whether the DOE and ERC are really committed to the honest to goodness implementation of the CSP policy that gave the Meralco consumers so much hope for the better.

It is about time that the consumers are no longer treated as a silent bottomless pit on whom all consequent costs of government policy and industry lobby will be charged. Let us not forget that in our democracy, it is for the govern that the government must behave and function. Our government officials swore to this when they took their oath of office.

Consider this when resolving the 700mw stranded solar projects.

Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc Matuwid.org – See more at: http://matuwid.org/what-to-do-with-the-700mw-stranded-solar-projects/#sthash.IABkGeOj.dpuf