Meralco assures no power outages during elections

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 12, 2019   •   1668

During a press briefing on Friday (April 12), Manila Electric Company (Meralco) assured that there will be no power outages during the May elections.

Company spokesman Jose Zaldarriaga said they already have contingency measures including forming a task force to make sure the elections this coming May will run smoothly.

“Contingency measures are in place to make sure uninterrupted elections,” he said.

They will also dispatch mobile generator sets to critical areas that might be affected by the power outages.

“Kasama diyan ang pag-dispacth ng mga (These include dispatching) mobile gen sets in areas we deem as critical to ensure that there will be no power outages in the precinct and the canvassing centers,” he said.

On Thursday, Senate energy committee chairman Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian raised concerns over possible power outages during election day.—Aileen Cerrudo

Bayan Muna reps urge probe of gov’t contracts with power companies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 4, 2020

Bayan Muna representative Carlos Zarate

Bayan Muna representative Carlos Zarate is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to also probe into the power industry and the government contracts with power companies.

“The constant threat of thinning power supply and brownouts in exchange for higher power rates or more onerous power supply agreements have been the bane of consumers for decades,” Zarate said in a statement.

The government continues to resolve the issues of onerous contracts with water concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water.

Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares said it is not right for generation companies to pass their losses to consumers.

“May kontrata sila to deliver electricity to the public pero hindi nila naibigay. Kung nasira ang boiler o anumang problema, kargo nila dapat. Huwag nilang ikarga sa aming consumers (They have a contract to deliver electricity to the public but they were not able to provide it. If the boiler broke or if there are any other problems, they should carry that burden, not the customers),” he said.

He added that the Electric Power Industry Reform (EPIRA) should also be amended.

Colmenares said that since 2001, power rates increased by 100% including longer power interruptions, and periodic yellow and red alerts in the power supply.

Meanwhile, Zarate said the monopoly of private generation companies should be stopped.

“A true nationalized comprehensive power plan with the government spearheading construction of its own power plants would not only ensure the power rate remain low but would also guard against power oligarchs again trying to push down onerous deals at the expense of the people,” Zarate said.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Meralco sets power rate hike this December

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 9, 2019

For the third consecutive month, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is set to implement another power rate hike this December due to higher generation charges.

Meralco has announced that power rates will increase by P0.33 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Customers who consume 200 kWh will have to pay additional P61 in their power bill while customers consuming 300 kWh will pay additional P91.

Customers will have to pay additional P122 and P152, respectively, for consuming 400 kWh and 500 kWh.

“Kapag nagkakaroon tayo ng mga sudden outages na nagreresulta sa yellow or red alerts, kapag tiningnan mo iyong historical data, talagang nagkakaroon ng pressure for prices to go up in the market (When we have sudden outages which result in yellow or red alerts and if you look at historical data, there really is a pressure for prices to go up in the market),” Meralco Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga said.

He added that they are continuing their efforts to restore the power supply in some areas affected by Typhoon Tisoy.

“We have sent a contingent to Bicol to assist ALECO in its postal restoration,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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Think tank warns of power shortage, rate increases in the coming months

Marje Pelayo   •   November 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Power rates are seen to shoot up in the coming months along with a series of power interruptions, according to the group Infrawatch PH.

It’s because the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has not approved all six new power supply agreements which Meralco is eyeing to source its supply from.

According to former congressman now Infrawatch PH Convenor Terry Riddon, ERC should have decided on the agreement as early as November 22.

But until now, the agreements have not yet been finalized even as Meralco’s power supply agreement (PSA) are set to expire on December 26.

This would likely result in power shortage and power rate increase in the coming months, according to Riddon.

“Natatakot po tayo na pagka nag-lapse po yung mga kontrata ng ilan pong tinatawag na PSAs ay kukuha po tayo ng kuryente sa spot market (It worries us that once the PSAs expire, we will need to source our electricity from the spot market),” he explained.

“Siyempre alam naman po natin kapag hindi contracted price may tendency na sumipa yung presyo ng kuryente (And as we all know, contracted price could result in power rate hikes),” he added.

But ERC denied stalling the new PSA as they received the applications only in October 22 this year.

Under the law, ERC has at least 75 days to issue a provisional authority on such type of agreements.

“Hindi ko alam kung saan nanggaling yung notion na nagkakaroon ng delay, (I don’t know from where that notion of a delay came from),” defended ERC Spokesperson Florinda Digal.

“Kapag file ng application sine-set namin for hearing, so may aksyon na kami. I think hindi lang naipaliwanag sa kanila na may proseso kasi bawat application na pina-file dito sa amin and gumagalaw yung application in accordance with the procedure,” she explained further.

(Once the application is filed, we set the hearing right away, so there’s action. I think, it was not explained to them properly that there is a process to follow and that the application is working in accordance with the procedure.)

The ERC maintained that it will not allow any delays in contracts that could result in shortage of power supply and high electricity prices that would inconvenience consumers.

“This is what we want to assure the public whenever we receive applications tinitignan din namin kung ano yung magiging epekto nito at syempre hindi kami papayag na magkaroon ng deficiency sa supply just because something is pending with us,” Digal said.

(This is what we want to assure the public whenever we receive applications. We look at their effects and of course, we do not allow deficiencies in the supply just because something is pending with us.)

Meanwhile, Meralco vows to cooperate with the government in order to minimize the impact on the consumers.

“We are committed to work with the government in ensuring that we obtain the least cost for consumers,” Meralco’s spokesperson Joe Zaldarriga assured. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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