04 August 2004
Condemning Napocor’s petition to increase its generation rate, members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) staged a picket today in front of the Napocor head office in Quezon City.
FDC Vice President Wilson Fortaleza denounced the latest move by the government. “The increase spells new affliction to consumers who are still reeling from last month’s electricity rates increases,” he said.
“Napocor’s petition to increase its rate by an average of P1.87/kWh could result in unrest by consumers, whose meager wages continue to shrink because of increasing power rates,” he added.
Fortaleza explained that any increase in power rates means less money for basic expenses like food, shelter, clothing, education, health, and others. Moreover, consumers’ diminishing purchasing power could further diminish because of the recent oil price increase. Increase in prices of basic commodities, services, transport fare, and even electricity is expected because of another oil price increase.
Napocor’s petition comes on top of other rates increase petitions that include Meralco’s Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism, the Meralco-Napocor Settlement Agreement, and Meralco’s rate increase application.
Combined, these petitions will mean Meralco consumers using at least 200kWh a month will have to fork out an additional P300 for electricity.
“But Meralco consumers are not the only ones affected by Napocor’s latest move. In fact, the impact on consumers outside the Meralco service area is more severe,” Fortaleza said.
Consumers whose distribution utilities source their entire electricity requirement from Napocor will have to pay an average P1.87/kWh increase for their electricity. Luzon consumers are bound to pay P2.28/kwh or 99.84% higher than current rates; Visayas consumers, P2.06/kwh or 81.82% more; Mindanao consumers, P1.62 or 107.38% higher than their current electricity bills.
Fortaleza pointed out the President’s failure to cancel onerous contracts with independent power producers (IPPs) as the root cause of Napocor’s financial woes that prompted it to increase its rates.
“The government brags about saving some US$1.04 billion from the IPP renegotiation. But until now, consumers have yet to feel these purported savings. And until now, consumers are paying for unused electricity, even electricity that IPPs failed to produce,” Fortaleza added.
FDC vows to intensify protest actions to stop Napocor’s and Meralco’s rates increase petitions.