[Press Release] Urban poor to ERC: Not so fast -SANLAKAS

Urban poor to ERC: Not so fast
March power hike to cost a kilo of rice a month, says activist group

sanlakas-logo2Ortigas, Pasig City – An urban poor group led by Sanlakas and the Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Tagalungsod (KPML) trooped in front of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) office at Ortigas to insist that ERC’s rejection of a petition to include stranded debts (SD) as part of the universal is not enough and that it should have rejected the petition on stranded contract cost (SCC) as well.

“If ERC thinks that it can already get away because it rejected the petition of Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) on stranded debts, it has to think twice. It is still guilty of passing to consumers an illegitimate claim on stranded contract costs,” Sanlakas Secretary-General Manjette Lopez said in a statement.

Republic Act 9146 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) defines stranded contract costs as the excess of the contracted cost of electricity under the contracts of National Power Corporation (NPC) with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) over the actual selling price of the contracted energy output of such contracts in the market. ERC allowed this week PSALM to claim as much as P53.58 billion worth of SCC from the consumers.

Electoral backlash

Sanlakas also claims that the disapproval of stranded debt petition after approving stranded contract costs “smacks of hypocrisy”.
“Rejecting the stranded debt petition gives credence to the argument that SCC should not be included in the universal charge. We suspect that the ERC backed off on stranded debts in order to protect its Liberal Party bosses from further backlash as we approach the 2013 elections,” Lopez claims.

Lopez said that ERC should instead probe PSALM’s failure to reduce NPC debts despite selling 80 percent of its generation assets and IPP supply contracts, as well as initiate another investigation on “onerous IPP contracts”.

A Kilo of Rice a Month

The urban poor group KPML on the other hand slammed ERC for “denying the urban poor a kilo of rice a month”, claiming that the ERC failed in its mandate to protect the consumers.
“The 19.38 centavos to be collected starting next month will cost us an additional P38.76 which is even more expensive than a kilo of rice which costs P35-P38 only,” said KPML.

The protesters dramatized their “disgust at the ERC sell-out of the poor’s interests” by holding a boodle-fight in front of the ERC office.

February 22, 2013

Contact Person: Manjette Lopez, Sanlakas Secretary-General @ 0922-860-8863
Val De Guzman, Media Liaison @ 0919-965-7509

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