Hontiveros tells ERC to convert fines imposed on erring power firms tosubsidize, refund consumers

Hontiveros tells ERC to convert fines imposed on erring power firms to
subsidize, refund consumers

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday urged the Energy
Regulatory Commission (ERC) to convert the penalties imposed on erring
power companies into consumer refunds.

Hontiveros made the call after the ERC announced that more power firms
were meted out fines for breaching the maximum allowable outages days
for 2020 and 2021.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa ERC sa pag-aksyon at pagpapanagot sa mga
energy players na responsable sa rotational brownout, pero mas
makikinabang ang konsyumer kung maibabalik sa kanila bilang refund ang
multa na binabanggit ng ERC,” said Hontiveros.

ERC penalized power generation firms Power Asset and Liabilities
Management Corp., Energy Development Corp., SPC Island Power Corp.,
Team Sual Corp., and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp.

During the previous Senate probes on rotatinal blackout, it can be
recalled that it was Hontiveros who urged the ERC to look into the
accountability of several generating companies that simultaneously
went offline or derated their capacity in May and June, forcing the
Luzon grid into red alert status causing the rotational blackouts and
driving the WESM and transmission prices up.

“Maliliit lang itong penalties na ipinataw ng ERC, pero ang kalahating
sentimong itinaas sa presyo ng kuryente nitong mga nakaraang buwan ay
napalaki kung pagsasama-samahin ang ibinayad ng milyon-milyong
konsyumer. Hindi na halaga ang hinahabol natin dito kundi hustisya na
maibalik ang dapat ay sa kanila,” Hontiveros explained.

For instance, a P0.05kWh increase due to the increase in transmission
or WESM charges in the bill of Meralco is equivalent to P350,000 for a
kWh when taken out from the pockets of all its 7 million customers.

“Ngayon, konsyumers naman ang maniningil. Refund ang magpaparamdam sa
kanila na may nanagot at may nasingil sa kapabayaan at kapalpakan sa
rotational brownout,” she said.

Hontiveros, with reducing the power rate as one of her agenda, has
actively participated in senate investigations on various power issues
like the unconscionable non-power related expenses and Chinese control
of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), bill
shocks and rotational blackouts.

She also filed Proposed Senate Resolution 746 that seeks to
investigate the failure of concerned government agencies to bring down
power rates 20 years after the enactment of the Electric Power
Industry Reform Act or EPIRA.

Hontiveros also filed Senate Bill No. 2435 to integrate the financing
of the solar home system into the housing loans for the socialized
housing sector to ensure access to a cheap source of electricity in
their relocation areas and defray the cost of their transition to
renewable energy. (ai/mtvn)

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