27 October 2003
About 200 members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition marched to the Energy Regulatory Commission on July 22, 2003 to demand the junking of the Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (GRAM). The GRAM is the new name for the oppressive PPA.
Like the PPA, GRAM is a cost recovery mechanism for utilities to recoup any fluctuations in fuel cost and purchased power cost. The GRAM is imbedded in the Generation Charge, the item in the electric bill with the highest cost. GRAM is not reflected in consumers' electric bill.
Various petitions are now pending in the ERC asking for rates increases under the GRAM. Among them are the NPC petition to increase generation charges by P0.51-kWh in Luzon, P0.40-kWh in the Visayas, and P1.77-kWh in Mindanao. NPC is only allowed to collect its September-2003 GRAM for Luzon and Visayas because the ERC granted NPC's application for a new rate-setting methodology.
This methodology resulted in another round of rates increases for Luzon, Visayas, and Panay-Bohol on top of all the rates increase petitions. The new methodology even hid the name "GRAM/PPA," though it is still being collected to consumers.
FDC says that the ERC and the utilities should not mislead consumers in saying that there is no more PPA. "However the ERC or utilities call it, costs recovered under either PPA or GRAM should not be imposed to consumers. Consumers should only pay for electricity they actually consumed, and electricity that plants actually produced."
FDC vows that this action will be followed by more mobilizations in different communities and government agencies.
"This is only one of our initial actions to oppose any imposition of unjust electricity rates. The government should expect more, since it has proven itself inutile in protecting the interests of the consuming public against private monopolies and multinational corporations." ###