On October 26, 2004, around 200 community leaders all over Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces and leaders of different organizations under the Freedom from Debt Coalition, ALTERNATIBA, and the KURYENTE Alliance pledged to hold a nationwide POWER OFF and NOISE BARRAGE PROTEST against power rate increases on November 10.

The leaders made the vow during the People’s Assembly against Power Rates Increase, which was held in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Quezon City.

FDC Secretary General Lidy Nacpil scored the government for its failure to curb the successive power rate increases to the public’s detriment. “The people that assembled here today all have one thing in common: they have all grown weary to the continuing power rate increases. Their commonality has one purpose: to vent their ire against government’s inability to protect their interest from its own Frankenstein – Napocor.”

Recently, the Energy Regulatory Commission provisionally approved Napocor’s P0.98/kWh average rate hike. Meralco consumers will be feeling the brunt of the rate increase when Meralco applies for a generation rate adjustment this November.

But the public’s burden does not end there. As early as now, Napocor officials indicated that they will raise power rates in the next two years to wipe out Napocor’s losses. In two years, Napocor’s rates will increase its rate from an average of P3.42/kWh in 2004 to between P5.26-P6.36/kWh by the end of 2006.

In 2005, Napocor will hike its rate between P0.73/kWh to P1.31/kWh, while in 2006, power rates will increase again between P1.1/kWh to P1.62/kWh.

“Unless this government addresses the real culprits for Napocor’s huge financial losses, President Macapagal-Arroyo will be hard put to justify power rate increases to the people,” Nacpil said.

The People’s Assembly is one of the initial activities to be launched against power rate increases. The protest actions will culminate on November 10, when thousands of community residents all-over Metro Manila and selected areas in Visayas and Mindanao will switch off their lights for thirty minutes and hold a noise barrage.

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