MANILA-- Sen. Nancy Binay on Friday urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to mitigate the impact of the 20-day maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility for the benefit of consumers.
Binay, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, also urged the ERC to review all power supply agreements (PSAs) and ensure that consumers will not pay additional costs during collection of the increased generation costs during the maintenance period.
She suggested that the ERC look for customer rebates that can be applied during the period of the rate increase to minimize what consumers will spend for their electricity bills.
The senator, meanwhile, welcomed the efforts of the Department of Energy (DOE) and other power stakeholders to initiate programs tempering the projected PHP1.20 to PHP1.50 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) power rate increase in power consumers' bills.
She lauded their willingness to protect the interest of Filipino consumers but also suggested that customers be allowed to pay their power bills in tranches to lessen their household expenditures.
"These procedures have been done before but now, we have to be more proactive to mitigate the power rate increase as soon as we can," Binay said.
The Malampaya gas field maintenance shutdown is scheduled from Jan. 28 to Feb. 16, 2017. The possible rate increase is expected to reflect in consumers' bills in March 2017.
Reports showed that the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has filed for a staggered payment application to the ERC.
Binay expressed hope that if the staggered payment application will be allowed, it will spread out over a longer period of time so consumers will pay lower increments per month.
ERC and the DOE are currently studying the possibility of lowering the secondary price cap in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) to prevent excessive increases during the maintenance period. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency