Power Watch calls on gov’t to act on rising electricity rates 

Power Watch Negros Secretary-General Wennie Sancho* 

Utility watch group, Power Watch Negros, called the increase in electricity rates due to added costs in generation charge an “injustice to consumers” and called on government power regulatory agencies to ensure a balance between companies’ profitability and consumers welfare. 

Power Watch Negros Secretary-General Wennie Sancho said  on Thursday, May 23,  that he is disgusted with the generation charges being shouldered by  consumers, who are reeling from inflation and high cost of living. 

This month, the three electric cooperatives in Negros Occidental announced increases in their respective electricity rates by P2 to P3 per kilowatt-hour. 

The increase was attributed to the high generation rates due to the price hike in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in April, brought about by “power supply concerns”.

In the past weeks, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines has declared yellow and red alerts for  power interruptions due to the unreliability of several power plants to go to planned and unplanned power outages, the press release said. 

“Why penalize them by making them pay for the failure of the power generators?” Sancho asked, adding  that “the causer  should pay the cost, not the consumers”. 

He said it is an added form of injustice to the consumers who are suffering from the inconvenience brought about by blackouts, insufficient ancillary services, ineffective system operations, under capacity and power plants shutdowns. 

Sancho urged government regulatory agencies like the  Energy Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy, and NGCP to ensure the balance between companies’ profitability and consumers welfare.

“Power generating companies should bear greater accountability and responsibility in justifying their profit and their commitment to advance the welfare of the consumers”, he said. 

Erring power producers should be penalized with appropriate fines, including revocation of their certificate for compliance and/or endorsement for their gross incompetence in failing to provide a crucial service in the midst of  the power crisis, he added.* 

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