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CitizenWatch PH: High Court’s decision on ERC approval of staggered power rate charges benefits consumers

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CitizenWatch Philippines lauds and supports the decision of the Supreme Court upholding the mandate of the Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the staggered collection of power rates as a fair ruling that balances the interest of consumers and stability of the power sector.

The High Court this week upheld a 2013 order of the ERC allowing the Manila Electric Company to implement a staggered collection of generation costs amounting to P26.64 billion. It said the ERC acted with due process and did not commit grave abuse of discretion, contrary to the claim of petitioners.

CitizenWatch acknowledges that the lack of a stable source of power supply was a problem in 2013 and continues to be a problem to this day. In November 2013, the Malampaya facility was on scheduled maintenance shutdown and thus affected supply from the natural gas plants providing a third of Luzon’s power requirements. This situation was aggravated by the simultaneous and unplanned outages of other generation plants.

The High Court’s decision provides a measure of stability in the power industry while being mindful of the concerns of the power-consuming public and the proposal of Meralco to defer and stagger the payments is responsive to the ongoing economic difficulties of Filipino consumers.

However, the weekly Yellow Alerts underlines the urgency to build baseload power plants to cope with the increasing demand of a recovering economy.

As our country works to recover from the economic effects of the stable energy sources are critical to all industries that provide jobs and drive economic growth.

We call on the ERC, the energy industry, and policy leaders to foster an attractive environment to attract the big investments needed for new power plants that are efficient and compliant to environmental regulations.

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