Consumer and environmental groups decried this week the impending increase in electricity rates in the Philippine capital.
In a statement, Kuryente.Org called on the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to decide on the petition of San Miguel-owned South Premiere Power Corp. and Manila Electric Company to amend their contract and impose a rate hike.
The group said the insistence of the San Miguel Corp. (SMC)-owned companies to amend their contracts with Meralco because of fears that it results in losses “is an insult to both the government and the consumers.”
“When both the South Premiere Power Corp. and San Miguel Energy Corp. signed the contracts with Meralco, they legally committed to deliver what needed to be delivered, no ifs, no buts,” read a statement issued by Nic Satur Jr., national coordinator of Kuryente.Org.
“To ask the Energy Regulatory Commission to change the rules for themselves is mocking the legal processes of the government to say the least,” said Satur.
Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu said the “financial maneuvering” over dirty energy plants “is clear evidence of our over-reliance on fossil fuels — exposing energy-generating companies to volatile costs.”
“Rather than enabling a genuine shift to clean energy, they resolve to pass the burden of these costs onto electric consumers,” said Yu.
The green activist said the ERC “must remain firm in prioritizing the welfare of consumers, by ensuring that electricity prices will not drastically increase to compensate for companies’ dirty, destructive, and expensive energy generation.”
He said the worsening energy crisis in the country “should be a wake-up call for our government.”
“Our continued reliance on imported fossil fuels, such as coal and fossil gas, and the distraction of the costly and dangerous nuclear energy, are the opposite of the progress the new administration has promised us,” said Yu.
Earlier this week, SMC formally lodged a “notice of termination” for two of its prevailing power supply agreements (PSAs) with Meralco.
The company said the termination of the power supply contracts will be effective starting October 4 this year, “if no relief is given” – or if the ERC will not act favorably on its rate hike application.
SMC sounded off expectations of “hefty price increases over the term of the contracts until 2030 if the temporary relief intended for partial cost recovery is not acted upon.”