Malacañang to blame for high power rates | Inquirer Opinion

Malacañang to blame for high power rates

/ 09:12 PM December 16, 2013

The existence of a power cartel in the local electric power industry and the policy of electricity rates deregulation of the current and past administrations are the primary factors behind not just the impending power rate hike but also the high cost of electricity in the Philippines.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is acting like a mere “rubber stamp” of the local power cartel, approving electricity rate hikes left and right without any thought of the public. In fact, it is acting like their spokesperson and public defender.

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This does not come as a surprise, considering how President Aquino, the ERC’s boss, has supported the overpricing of petroleum products and water, and the proposed LRT/MRT fare hikes.

Four large capitalists dominate generation, transmission and distribution in the electricity industry: Danding Cojuangco’s San Miguel Corp., the Lopez family’s First Gen, the Aboitiz family, and Henry Sy. Thus, news reports that several power producers are manipulating the reported steep rise in the price of electricity does not surprise us. This was guaranteed by the privatization of the electric power industry, which is

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mandated by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira).

But despite President Aquino’s usual practice of blaming his administration’s failures and problems on his predecessor, he has remained silent on former President Gloria Arroyo’s Epira.  In fact, he has allowed House Bill 256, which seeks to scrap the Epira, to gather dust in Congress’ archives.

By adopting a policy of price deregulation and refusing to halt and reverse the privatization of the power industry, the Aquino administration is primarily responsible for the sufferings of power consumers.

We call on the Filipino youth and the public in general to revolt against the revolting electricity rates, corporate greed and the useless Aquino administration. Let us hold weekly protests in the streets, communities and campuses to demand the following: a moratorium on all impending power rate hikes, the scrapping of the Epira and the nationalization of the electric power sector.

—VENCER CRISOSTOMO,

national chair, Anakbayan,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Energy Regulatory Commission, nation, news, power rate hike
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