|Iloilo City has the most expensive electricity in the country, world|
|Monday, 13 September 2010 00:00|
ILOILO CITY – The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC-Iloilo) has released a disturbing report which shows that consumers in Iloilo City located in Region VI - Western Visayas, in the Central Philippines, are charged with the most expensive electricity rates, not only in the country, but also in the whole world.
According to FDC-Iloilo, for the month of August 2010 alone, a household consumer with a total electricity consumption of 195-kilowatt-hours coughs-out P2,525.95 for monthly bill at the per kilowatt-hour rate of P12.95.
Iloilo City is under the exclusive franchise of service of Panay Electric Company (Meralco), considered one of the oldest private power distribution utility in the country, and with more than 40,000 consumers.
Highest in the country
In a comparative table of rates prepared by FDC (See Table 1), it revealed that Iloilo City is paying the most expensive household electricity if compared to the same category of consumers located in other key cities in the Philippines like Leyte, Cebu, Bacolod, Davao, General Santos or even in the country’s capital Manila.
With a total of 195-kWh consumption for August month, consumers in Leyte pays only monthly of P1,392.30 or P7.14/kWh. In Cebu, consumers pay only P1,753.05 or P8.99/kWh while Bacolod City P1,255.00 or P6.43/kWh.
On the other hand, Davao City consumers is billed P1,339.65 or P6.87/kWh rate while General Santos has P1,066.65 or P5.47/kWh.
In Manila, the country’s business and government center, Manila Electric Company (Meralco), a sister company of PECO, charges its consumer a monthly electricity of P10.00/kWh or a total monthly bill of P1,950.00.
“A simple look at the comparison of rates illustrates that electricity prices in Iloilo City is scandalously exorbitant if compared to other key cities in the country,” said Ted Aldwin E. Ong, chairperson of FDC-Iloilo.
“What could be the best explanation over this issue when PECO has been found out to have overcharged consumers amounting to millions of pesos since the 1990’s and was even ordered to refund by the Energy Regulatory Commission,” stressed Ong.
Ted Aldwin Ong underscored, that “the power utility is committing a great injustice to the Ilonggo citizens for it has repeatedly failed to justify why its rates is skyrocketing yet its quality of service is way below par.”
Ong was referring to the daily power outages wrapping the city since January.
The group has been criticizing PECO on the “everyday power blackout which hampered livelihood and economic activity and diminishing putting productivity levels to all time low while charging the same kilowatt-hour rates in spite of the services it did not deliver to its consumers.
Highest in the world
Moreover, the group also revealed that Iloilo City is not only the highest in terms of electricity rates in the country, but surprisingly, also in the world.
Another look at the data showing Iloilo City electricity rates versus other developed and progressive cities in the world shows that Iloilo City has also the highest electricity rates,” added Ong.
For instance, United States only charges P3.82/kWh, United Kingdom P4.72/kWh, Russia P0.22/kWh, Japan Php9.63. Surprisingly, Iloilo City under PECO has the highest.
“Our government officials starting from the President of the Republic, to our Senators, down to our honorable Congresspersons are easy-go-lucky on the power issue for maybe they are not aware that wherever you go in the Philippines, we pay for the highest electricity rates compared to other citizens of the world, especially those who are located in highly-developed nations,” said Ong.
Disturbed about the cost of electricity in Iloilo City, retired Professor Pablo Española of the University of the Philippines-Visayas investigated the prevailing rates in other places in the world from the years 1994 to 2002 and was shocked to learn about its result. (See Table 2)
According to retired Prof. Española, “although the data is at least eight years old, the global electricity rate during those years was on a downward trend. It shows that there is little chance rates in other countries would be much higher today than they were during those years.”
“The data that we have gathered will be submitted to the Committee on Transportation, Energy, and Public Utilities of the local government of the City of Iloilo which is initiating an investigation on the issues involving the power utility,” said Ong.
Ong likewise shared that “the same data will be submitted to the respective committees of Energy in the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines in order to have this issue scrutinized or investigated.”
The Freedom from Debt Coalition is a campaign and advocacy organization in the Philippines focused against the privatization of essential services and commons; such as, power and water, and has chapters scattered in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. -30-
Table 1. Comparative Monthly Electricity Rates Iloilo City versus other cities
Table 2. Global Electricity Rates versus Iloilo City
Freedom from Debt Coalition – Iloilo Chapter
No. 185 Jereos St., La Paz District, 5000 Iloilo City
Ted Aldwin E. Ong, chairperson @ +63.919.930.8908