Tag Archives: National Power Corporation

[Press Release] Anti-mining coalition slams Mining Chamber’s ‘poster boy’ for responsible mining -ATM

Anti-mining coalition slams Mining Chamber’s ‘poster boy’ for responsible mining
Says Philex, MGB should completely disclose dealings after August mine tailings accident

atm-logo

Alyansa Tigil Mina criticizes Philex Mining Corporation for how irresponsible and misleading it has been since the accidental discharge of more than thirteen million cubic meters of mine waste from its Padcal mine. This is after Philex said that National Power Corporation (Napocor) has no claim despite damages caused to the state-owned San Roque Watershed Reservation.

“It is very unfortunate and outright irresponsible for Philex to snub the Napocor—only one of the sectors that the mine tailings spill in August damaged. How about the other affected communities then? It is undeniable that the incident has not only affected areas covered by their mining tenement but also areas downstream, affecting fishing and farming communities,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.

Napocor has since May 10 written to the company to pay Php 6-billion compensation and penalties for damages caused to the watershed’s reservoir. Meanwhile, in a letter to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Philex said that the Napocor’s claims are immaterial.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau, as the government body responsible to evaluate, monitor and investigate mining-related incidences, is expected to respond to this and clarify concerns on payment of damages caused by the mines. ATM demanded that MGB must facilitate negotiations and dialogues between the Napocor and Philex, as well as other stakeholders affected by the mine spill.

“We expect the MGB and Philex to be fully transparent, specifically on reporting to the public how the impacts of the mine tailings is being addressed. They should stop misleading the public about their rehabilitation work and include containing mine wastes in the San Roque reservoir,” added Garganera. ATM has also demanded earlier that the ECC for the tailings ponds of the Padcal mines be made available to all stakeholders, a demand that has remained unfulfilled.

The MGB said that Philex has paid its fine of Php1.034-billion and has been allowed to resume operations in March. However, the agency is yet to disclose to the public how the rehabilitation and damages were dealt with.

“The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) candidacy status of the Philippines should convince our government and the players in the industry to be transparent in its dealings and operations. This should be a wake-up call especially to MGB to no longer be silent on the damages of mining and focus only in highlighting its promise of economic growth.”

Recently, the government announced that the EITI Board has accepted and approved the Philippines application for candidacy to comply with EITI. EITI is a global platform aimed at ensuring the transparency in the extractive industries and improve fiscal regulation of natural resources extractive activities.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 09277617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research & Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

Press Release

May 29, 2013

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[Press Release] DON’T FOOL US DMCI SAID: Group Slams to Isidro Consunji’s Statement -PMCJ

DON’T FOOL US DMCI SAID: Group Slams to Isidro Consunji’s Statement

pmcj logo

Insatiable Greed

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) reacted to recent pronouncement made by DMCI Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Isidro Consunji on their plan to shift all off grid areas into coal-fired plant.

National Coordinator of PMCJ, Gerry Arances, has this to say,” DMCI’s plan to put up coal-fired power plant in areas served by Small Power Utilities Groups (SPUG) and the state-owned National Power Corporation (Napocor) is a blatant act of putting the lives of the Filipino people in great danger.”

“This barefaced pronouncement clearly shows that DMCI is only after the profit the company will earn and has complete disregard on the welfare of the communities which will be affected by this coal-fired power plant”, Arances added.

Coal Is Dirty and Harmful

According to DMCI, they are eyeing SPUG areas as potential power plant sites, particularly in Palawan, Masbate, and Mindoro. These areas will be priority areas where the company plans to build coal-fired power plant.

Mr.Isidro Consunji even contested issues raised by different environmental organizations that coal is dirty. He argued that if coal is dirty, why is the expansion of Calaca coal-fired power plant in Batangas be allowed?

“The argument of Mr.Consunji does not hold water,” said Arances.

Arances explained that “the fact that expansion of Calaca which is also DMCI owned was allowed does not mean that there are no opposition to it. Also it does not follow that since it was allowed then it is already clean and safe.”

“Take the case of Palawan where DMCI is building a 15MW coal-fired power plant. Palawenos are opposing it and yet the project was allowed by the local government, notwithstanding the fact that it will threaten the island’s biodiversity and the above all the lives of the people residing there,” he added.

DMCI will employ the Circulating Fluidized Bed Technology in Palawan – a technology that is capable of getting rid of the sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide gases which are present in acid rain.

“This technology does not address the other ill-effects of coal-fired power plants ‘presence of heavy metals like mercury and arsenic, to mention a few. Also, what the people in the coal industry always and conveniently omit when they pitch for it is the truth that the entire lifecycle of coal is dirty, dangerous, and detrimental to the lives of the people,” said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina and also a member of PMCJ.

“Before coal is burned, it must be mined, transported, and refined. Mining it utilizes strip mining where whole mountains are destroyed and coal ash flew and inhaled by the people in the community. This gives rise to incidents of asthma, lung disease [which result from] water pollution and other toxic waste. All this the people in the coal industry the Consunji’s included must answer.” Garganera added.

Coal Is Not an Option

“DMCI’s plan to convert off-grid areas to coal-fired power plants will further put the people at risk. The fact that most of these areas are remote areas and small islands, are very susceptible to disasters brought by climate change. Adding coal-fired power plant to the picture will aggravate the threat. Its presence will destroy the adaptive capacity of the community thereby making them more susceptible to danger” Arances explained.

PMCJ demands that the government must set it eyes in other energy sources which are safe, clean, accessible, and renewable rather than relying on coal and other fossil fuels which are known contributors to global warming.

Lastly Arances has this to say,” Hindi porke natuloy ang proyekto ligtas at payag na dito ang mga mamamayan, batid natin na kapag pera na ang gumalaw nag iiba na ang kalakaran.”

###

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) is a broad movement consisting of 103 national networks/alliances and local organizations representing basic sectors, grassroots communities, the marginalized and most vulnerable, including women, indigenous peoples, fisher folk and coastal communities, farmers and rural communities, forest communities, formal and informal workers, environmental groups, urban poor, and others in the Philippines that aims to lead the joint struggles, campaigns and actions in putting forward the climate justice framework as a fundamental element of solving the climate crisis.

For more information:
Gerry Arances, PMCJ Coordinator, <gerry.arances@gmail.com> 0932-8778578

Khevin Yu, PMCJ Campaign Staff <khevinyu@gmail.com> 0917-5213356

PRESS RELEASE
May 20, 2013

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[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

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

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[Statement] Groups set National Day of Protest against high electricity rates on Nov. 22 -FDC

Groups set National Day of Protest against high electricity rates on Nov. 22

MANILA, Philippines – The Freedom from Debt Coalition, together with various people’s organizations, will be holding a National Day of Protest on November 22, 2012 to register the people’s resistance to the skyrocketing electricity rates that continue to burden the people and the relentless privatization of the power industry under the EPIRA or Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

Manjette Lopez, FDC vice president, said that organizations in more than 50 cities and municipalities have expressed their support for the National Day of Action against high electricity rates.

“We expect that more people will join the protest in the coming days,” she added.

According to FDC, there are, at least, 10 reasons why the people should join the National Day of Protest.

First, the people should call for the repeal of the EPIRA. Since its enactment, the EPIRA has not done anything to lower electricity rates. Instead, it has removed the ownership, management and control of government as it allowed the privatization of the government’s power assets to private corporations whose only intention in acquiring such properties is profit.

Second, the National Day of Protest is part of the struggle against the continuing increase of electricity rates. In Luzon, people pay around P11/kWh, a far cry from the pre-EPIRA rates of P5/kWh.

Third, the Senate Bill 3250, which was filed by Sen. Serge Osmeña, to extend the life of the Power Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp. for another 10 years. The question is what has the PSALM done since its creation? Before PSALM Corp., the debt of the National Power Corporation (Napocor) stood at US$16, after the creation of the PSALM and subsequent sale of 80% of Napocor’s assets, the present Napocor debt stands at US$17B. With callous gall, PSALM intends to borrow P60B next year for its operations and maturing obligations.

Fourth, PSALM Corp. has been pushing the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to approve its application to pass on the “stranded debt,” amounting to P140 billion, to the consumers. PSALM Corp.’s application would translate to an additional 36 centavos/kWh to be charged against the consumer for 3 years or 3 centavos/kWh payable in the span of 15 years. This additional charge will reflect as the Universal Charge.

Fifth, the open access or electricity market under the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) which is prone to price manipulation. The truth of the matter is that five big players of the power industry can easily dictate the outcome of the market.

Sixth, the recent Supreme Court decision to privatize the Angat Dam hydro-electric power plant (HEPP). The Angat HEPP is now 100% owned by Korea Water Resources Corporation, a foreign company. This goes against our Constitution’s provisions on sovereignty. Angat Dam is the single-most important water source of Metro Manila as it provides 97 percent of the water needs of at least 12 million residents of the country’s capital and irrigates some 31,000 hectares of farms across 20 towns and municipalities in Bulacan and Pampanga.

Seventh, the use of the Performance Based Rate (PBR) methodology to determine rate increases. The ERC has allowed excessive rate increases this year which ranges from 15% to 21% returns for the private utilities. These increases goes beyond the 12% ceiling for returns as stipulated in the Return on Rate Base provided for by the Public Utilities Act.

Eight, the recent updating of the Bill Deposit Charge, which serves as an insurance for Meralco against residents who are not capable to pay for their electricity.

Ninth, in the Visayas, PSALM Corp. is pushing for the privatization of the independent power producer administration (IPPA) supply contract of the Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plant (ULGPP). If the privatization of the IPPA pushes through, this may translate into a 100% increase in rates quite similar to what happened in Negros Occidental.

And tenth, the continued push to privatize the Agus-Pulangi hydro plants in Mindanao. Agus-Pulangi continues to be the source of affordable electricity for the Mindanaoans, which roughly provides for more than %50 of the island’s electricity needs. If the privatization of the said plant pushes through, the possibility of rate increases will be inevitable.

Aside from FDC, other organizations that support this nationwide action include: Akbayan, Alliance of Progressive Labor, Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, BISIG, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Faith-based Congress Against Immoral Debts, Kalayaan, Katarungan.

Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya, KMBM, Koalisyong Pabahay ng Pilipinas, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralita ng Lungsod, KUMPAS, Makabayan-Pilipinas, Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Transportasyon, Partido Lakas ng Masa, Partido ng Manggagawa, Piglas-Kababaihan, and SANLAKAS.

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[Press Release] Protest greets ADB’s annual meeting -FDC

Photo source: FCAID FB

Protest greets ADB’s annual meeting

MANILA, Philippines – As the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) 45th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors commenced in Wednesday, various cause-oriented groups, led by the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), trooped to the Philippine International Convention Center, the venue of the ADB meeting, to protest the Bank’s role in the privatization of the energy and water sectors and in pushing coal and other dirty technologies in Asia and the Pacific.

Bearing signs such as “ADB: Serving the rich since 1966,” “Anti-Development Bank: of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” and “Our power, water: not for sale,” the protesters lambasted ADB for coming out with another mantra, called “inclusive growth,” to cover up its failure to accomplish its declared objective of freeing Asia from poverty. They added that ADB only advanced the “corporate greed” of the United States, Japan and other global corporations, at the expense of the people and the environment.

The protesters also staged a satirical Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May)-inspired action, dubbed as “ADB de Delubyo (Disaster): A Parade of Protest.” In Philippine culture, “Flores de Mayo” is a flower festival celebrated in the month of May, in honor of the Virgin Mary. The highlight of the festival is a colorful pageant parade known as “Santacruzan,” which commemorates the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena and her son, the newly converted emperor Constantine.

Featured during the protest were “Queen of High Power Rates,” who represented the burden of Filipino people as having the highest power rates in Asia; “Queen of Thirst,” representing ADB’s push for privatizing the country’s potable and irrigation water; “Mother of Degraded Environment,” representing the effect of climate change and ADB’s callous support of dirty energy; and, “King of Indebtedness,” representing the social and economic cost of being highly-indebted.

Privatization

Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Jubilee South-Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD), said that ADB bears a large share of the responsibility for the privatization of water and power services in Asia.

“There is no doubt that privatization of these services cause harm to peoples and the environment as shown by the experiences of communities and peoples in Asia. Because of privatization of these basic services, millions of impoverished and marginalized have much less access to safe and clean fresh water with the deterioration of the quality of service and the sharp increases in the cost of service,” stressed Nacpil, also FDC vice president.

The ADB has been involved in privatizing water services in the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. It is also involved in power privatization-related projects in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Thailand, Pakistan, Indonesia, and at least nine states in India received financing from ADB.

EPIRA

Ricardo B. Reyes, FDC president, said that one concrete example of an ADB-finance program was the Philippines’ Power Sector Restructuring Program that led to the legislation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

This has compelled the government to increase the generation rates to attract more investors to participate in the privatization of government’s generation assets. It also legitimized the debts arising from and payments to expensive and onerous contracts of National Power Corporation with independent power producers.

According to FDC, EPIRA failed to achieve its two categorical promises to the Filipino consumers – clean, accessible and reliable power supply to all and affordable electricity rates.

“After more than 10 years of EPIRA implementation, the Philippines now has the most expensive electricity rates in Asia. Mindanao, the southern part of the country, is still experiencing rotational blackouts. Worse, the Philippine government is holding people hostage: pay more for electricity and accept coal,” stressed Reyes.

Water

According to FDC, privatization of water services, in effect, contradicts and cannot co-exist with the people’s human right to water. On 28 July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly had declared that safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, expressing deep concern that an estimated 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water and a total of more than 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation.

Citing the privatization of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) as example, FDC said that water distribution under corporate control has negatively affected Metro Manila residents, especially the urban poor communities.

“Contrary to the positive promises of water privatization, what we experienced is the opposite. In just 12 years, water tariffs have risen exponentially by almost 1000%. Water lost to leakages in the West zone is higher than pre-privatization levels. The MWSS has still continued to incur more debts,” FDC said.

Arze Glipo, convenor of the Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS), said there is an urgent need to expose the flawed logic behind the current drive to transform water into a source of profit and to assert our people’s basic right to water.

“We need to assert our right to water, our right to life. We need to expose ADB and World Bank’s promotion of a host of programs and policy reforms aimed at de-emphasizing the traditional view of water as a right and a common resource and its replacement with the concept of water as a tradable commodity,” stressed Glipo, also FDC vice president.

People’s Forum

The protest is part of the People’s Forum against the ADB, which is a parallel event to the ADB’s 45th Annual Meeting and is being held at the Bayview Park Hotel and Malate Catholic Church.

Topics discussed at the parallel event were ADB’s “Inclusive Growth” theme, Energy for All policy, Water for All policy which include Framework and Policy on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Water in Agriculture, and the Bank’s investments in coal and technologies that aggravate climate change.

Organizers of the People’s Forum include the Philippine Working Group (PWG) on the ADB, NGO Forum on ADB, JS-APMDD and APNFS.

Aside from FDC and JS-APMDD, those who joined the protest were leaders and members of, Faith-based Congress against Immoral Debts (FCAID), Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML), Matinik, Akbayan, Koalisyong Pabahay sa Pilipinas (KPP), Sanlakas and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ). -30-

Contact persons:
Agee Linan, FDC Campaigner, +63.932.872.6168
Bobby Diciembre, FDC Communication Officer, +63.932.872.6162

NEWS RELEASE
02 May 2012

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[Statement] On the MinDA announcement that Malacañang has abandoned privatizing Agus and Pulangi -FDC

On the MinDA announcement that Malacañang has abandoned privatizing Agus and Pulangi

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) welcomes the announcement of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), through its Chair Luwalhati Antonino (PDI, 25 April 2012, p. 20), that President Benigno S. Aquino III has abandoned the option of privatizing the Agus and Pulangi hydropower plants. This is a recognition of the popular and broad opposition to the Agus and Pulangi privatization plan as manifested in the recently held Mindanao Power Summit.

The MinDA announcement will help shift the direction of policy solutions to the power supply problem in Mindanao as well as on the national scale towards a state and public model of developing power generation in the country as FDC has long advocated and struggled for.

FDC, however, takes exception to the MinDA alternative proposal to set up a Mindanao Power Corporation to manage the Agus and Pulangi hydropower plants on the following grounds:

First, while the proposed Mindanao Power Corporation is a state entity, the alternative must be modeled in such a manner that public accountability, control and transparent governance are established. This is to avoid the irregularities and mismanagement that characterized the National Power Corporation.

Second, the equity participation of the consumers, the electric cooperatives in the area and the indigenous communities must built into the proposed alternative.

Third, the management and development of the alternative model must be geared towards making electricity accessible and affordable (with provisions for subsidy included) to the farming, working class and indigenous communities and households who are still either without electricity or who cannot or who find it difficult to afford it in Mindanao.

And fourth, that a public body be formed to craft the final shape of the alternative body and that such body should include representatives and experts enlisted by consumers, electric cooperatives, the academe, and the indigenous communities apart from the business sector, the LGUs and National Government agencies.
RICARDO B. REYES
National President, Freedom from Debt Coalition
Mobile: +63.932.872.6172

Freedom from Debt Coalition
#11 Matimpiin St., Brgy. Pinyahan, Quezon City 1100, NCR, Philippines
Phone: : (+632) 9211985 * Telefax: (+632) 9246399
Website: http://www.fdc.ph * Email: mail@fdc.ph

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[People] The Power Mess: How We Got into It and How to Get Out By Walden Bello

The Power Mess: How We Got into It and How to Get Out
By Walden Bello
INQUIRER.net
April 23, 2012

With the electricity rates in Luzon now among the highest in the world and Mindanao plagued by daily brownouts, the power situation in the Philippines can only be described as a mess. How did we work ourselves into this jam?

Well, there are several landmarks on the road to our current power crisis.

Three Landmarks on the Road to Crisis

The first was the decision, during the Marcos period, to build the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). BNPP, a 620-Megawatt (MW) facility, was supposed to fill the additional demand for electricity in Luzon from the 1980’s on. The only problem—and a big one—was that the technology was unsafe and the plant was situated in a seismically active area and on the slope of a volcano–Mt. Natib–that could not be certified as dead.

BNPP had to be cancelled, and the Fukushima tragedy of 2011 proved in retrospect how correct that decision was. But not surprisingly, with the main power project designed to fill growing demand in Luzon sidelined, rolling brownouts hit the country in the early 1990’s. The administration of President Fidel Ramos then committed the second big blunder, which was to hurriedly contract independent power producers (IPP’s) to fill the power gap. With their notorious “take-or-pay” provision–meaning distributors had to pay for a specified amount of power whether they used it all up or not–IPP contracts pushed up the cost of electricity tremendously. The power retailers like Meralco were not about ready to absorb the added cost, so they passed it on to the consumer.

The third milestone was the privatization of the National Power Corporation (NPC or Napocor) in 2001 via the so-called EPIRA law.

The Faulty Assumptions of EPIRA

EPIRA was informed by two heroic assumptions. The first was that the sale of government energy facilities would result in proceeds that would pay off Napocor’s massive debt, which reached P943 billion by 2001. As President Aquino described it at the 1st Mindanao Power Summit over a week ago, “The idea behind it [EPIRA] was: NAPOCOR would sell its power plants to private investors, and use the proceeds to pay its debt. This was supposed to put an end to the never-ending, increasing debt.”

The second assumption was that privatization would make the generation and delivery of electricity more efficient and thus bring down the cost of power. Private is better than public; the market is more efficient than the state: This was the neoliberal faith that was so enthusiastically embraced by Philippine technocrats in the 1990’s. This was the mindset that saw not only the surrender of NPC assets to the private sector but also the sale of the highly profitable Petron oil refining corporation to foreign interests and the ceding of the provision of water in the Metro-Manila area to the Ayalas and the Lopezes by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

The reality that followed differed from the assumptions behind EPIRA.

First of all, the anticipated revenue did not materialize since NPC facilities were disposed off at fire sale terms. For instance, according to a report by the renewable energy group MinCARED , the Masinloc Geothermal Plant in Zambales, valued at $390 million, was sold to private investors who made an initial down payment of only 40 per cent, with the balance to be paid in seven years at $80 million yearly—an amount that is actually the average yearly income of the plant itself! Similarly, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) put in an initial payment of $987.5 million, or 25 per cent to acquire TRANSCO, NPC’s transmission facility. The remaining $2.92 billion or 148 billion pesos will be paid in 15 years. TRANSCO is earning an average of 15 billion a year, which is more than enough to cover NGCP’s yearly installment payment. In other words, as the analysis put it, “NGCP has only minimal investment in its acquisition of a highly profitable jewel of our country.”

Not surprisingly, the sale of NPC assets at extremely disadvantageous terms to the private sector has produced a situation in which NPC debt has not diminished but instead climbed from P943 billion in 2001 to P1.24 trillion in 2009.

The assumption that market forces would result in cheaper electricity owing to greater efficiency likewise did not pan out. The cross-ownership of power producers and electricity distributors allowed by EPIRA did not lead to greater competition but to what economist Edna Espos described as “institutionalized oligopoly …where the market is dominated by a small number of players who are able to collectively exert control over supply and market prices.” A key institution that EPIRA set up was the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). Originally designed to be a mechanism for identifying and setting prices based on quantities of electricity transacted between many power generators and retailers, WESM’s prices actually came to reflect the dynamics of the collusive oligopoly that replaced the state monopoly.

Not surprisingly, the rates of Meralco, the country’s biggest power distributor, jumped by 112 percent over 10 years, while the rates charged by NPC went up by 95 per cent. Instead of dispersal of ownership, only a handful of groups – San Miguel Corp., the Aboitizes, the Lopezes, and “Manny Pangilinan Inc.”– control 52 percent of power generation. As Rep. Ben Evardone put it in a privilege speech in January of this year, “The EPIRA has obviously only harnessed the domination of only a few corporations in both the generation and distribution of power to the detriment of the Filipino power consumers. This can be attributed to the watered-down safeguards against monopoly in the electricity sector.”

Derailing Renewable Energy

Even as EPIRA floundered, the methods of power generation based on fossil fuels came under criticism for environmental reasons, including their contribution to global warming, of which the Philippines was a prime victim. The result of the widely felt need for a new direction in energy policy was the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which sought to transform the country’s energy mix to one that was predominantly reliant on renewable sources like hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass. However, half-hearted commitment on the part of the Executive and resistance from business, which said renewable energy (RE) development would make power even more expensive, stalemated any move in the direction of RE. Instead, business interests, notably the Aboitizes, took advantage of projections of electricity demand to promote coal, the dirtiest energy source–both in terms of its impact on health and climate change–as the answer to the power crisis. From less than 10 per cent in 1991, coal plants now generate over 30 per cent of the country’s power. There are currently 11 coal-fired plants in the country, and plans are being accelerated to set up more. Most controversial is the Aboitiz project in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority which is projected to produce some 400 to 600 MW to “stave off brownouts in Luzon by 2014,” according to Energy Secretary Rene Almendras. Equally controversial is the Department of Energy’s plan for Mindanao, which envisions the installation of 1000 MW of coal-powered energy capacity in the next few years. Almendras, a former Aboitiz executive, has become the high priest of coal, though it is probably technocratic belief in the efficacy of coal rather than ties to the company that drives his advocacy.

Mindanao: Battle Ground of Energy Paradigms

Mindanao has now become the site of the battle between pro-RE groups and pro-coal forces brandishing the argument that that energy source is the only way to meet that region’s rising demand. Currently, Mindanao has the most RE-friendly energy mix, with hydro, geothermal, and other renewable sources accounting for 60 per cent of energy generating capacity, in contrast to 42 per cent in the Visayas and a mere 32 per cent in Luzon, according to UP Professor Clodualdo del Mundo. Central to the energy complex of the region are the Agus-Pulangui dams, which generate 52 per cent of the region’s power supply. Mindanao’s largely hydro-based system also enjoys the lowest generation charge among the country’s regions, coming to 2.8 pesos per kilowatt hour–compared to 4.3 pesos in Luzon and 4.0 pesos in the Visayas, where the generation cost is tied to the international price of oil and coal on which power generation is dependent. Yet, owing to the deterioriation of the Agus-Pulangui dams, supply has become erratic, especially during the dry season. Rehabilitation of the two dams is badly needed. Also, siltation of the Agus River in Lanao and the Pulangui River in Bukidnon has deprived the dams of the amount of water needed for them to function at full capacity. As a consequence, the electricity provided by the hydropower plants has been reduced by about a third from its former level, according to a report in the Manila Times.

Given their central importance to Mindanao, the deteriorating condition of the Agus-Pulangui complex strikes some observers as suspicious. As the Freedom from Debt Coalition put it in its Open Letter to President Aquino, “There are indications that vested cartels are positioning themselves to corner a huge share of the electricity market by allowing the intentional decay of said power plants,” a development that “will also virtually guarantee long-term high electricity prices, since contracts will be pegged to the volatile oil market and the ever increasing international price of coal.”

Distrust is also being sown by DOE’s plan to add 1000 MW worth of capacity whereas its estimate of Mindanao’s current shortfall is only 100 MW. Pro-RE advocates suspect that the agency is preparing a major expansion of coal plants not only to support rising residential and industrial demand but also respond to the projected demand from the mining operations, including coal mining. Their suspicions have been further stoked by Almendras’ publicly proclaimed goal of making the Philippines’ self sufficient in coal and his plan of exploring “30 coal areas” in the country.

The Way Out of the Mess

So how do Mindanao and the country as a whole fight their way out of the power conundrum? The following plan, consisting of immediate, medium-term, and long-term components, is distilled from the proposal of a number of groups, such as Freedom from Debt Coalition, the Mindanao Congress of Advocates for Renewable Energy and Rural Electrification and Development (MinCARED), and Akbayan.

First of all, say RE advocates, there must be a multipronged effort to address the immediate crisis. Secretary Almendras must rescind his recent order to electric coops to fill surplus demand by buying electricity from private power plants and barges at 14 pesos per kilowatt hour.

Two, the four power barges still under government control, each of which can generate 32 MW, must be deployed to Mindanao, to produce electricity that can be sold to consumers price based on the generating cost of 2.8 or 2.9 pesos per kilowatt hour. Power from these barges, along with power from the Agus-Pulangui, should meet most of current demand, with the remainder of the shortfall filled by energy conservation efforts devised by LGU’s in cooperation with electric cooperatives.

Three, the NPC must immediately upgrade the Agus-Pulangui hydro units, rehabilitating equipment, dredging the silt from the Agus and Pulangui Rivers, and undertaking watershed reforestation to promote sustained water flow.

Moving to the medium term, under the terms of EPIRA, Mindanao has been given a brief reprieve, meaning NPC’s assets there have not yet been sold to the private sector. This reprieve must be made permanent. Instead of turning over Agus-Pulangui to the private sector, a body could be set up along the lines of Rep. Maria Isabel Climaco’s proposal for a “Mindanao Power Company,” which would be a government-owned-and-controlled corporation, but with a multisectoral board, that would own, operate and control the Agus-Pulangui hydro power complexes. The idea, says Climaco, “is to have Mindanaoans be responsible for powering Mindanao.” Part of the financing of company could come from Mindanao’s 26 provincial governments.

In the long term, both for the sake of Mindanao and the whole country, EPIRA must be repealed. More than a decade after it was enacted, EPIRA has delivered the opposite of what it promised: higher electricity rates, an energy sector unable to cope with growing demand, inefficient provision of electricity, and a greedy oligopoly.

There must also be a decisive reversal of the trend to setting up more coal plants. While the expansion of coal is being justified as a temporary step as renewable energy projects are waiting to come on stream, the reality is that it will set up a massive fossil-fuel base energy infrastructure that is permanent, with all the damaging consequences for the environment and public health. The RE Act must, in short, be implemented, immediately. The feed-in tariff and other investment incentives must be deployed, and the latest innovations in solar, wind, biomass, and min-hydropower from Europe and China must be adapted to local conditions. While some RE projects have high start-up costs, in the long run these will fall and make RE equally if not more efficient than fossil fuels, and without the latter’s high environmental costs.

Also important is the institutionalization of citizen and consumer participation at all levels of energy planning to ensure accountability and transparency. The kind of brazen undermining of the Renewable Energy Act by the DOE in its promoting the expansion of the coal option must never be allowed to happen again.

Financing the Transition

Putting this energy plan into effect will take money. Where can this be sourced? Currently, the government is allocating over 20 per cent of the P1.8 trillion budget to creditors, many of whom have been paid many times for loans—including energy sector loans like the BNPP–that were given at crushingly high interest rates over the last four decades. A negotiated or unilateral reduction of debt repayments would release the funds much needed for putting in place a renewable energy infrastructure for the 21st century. An initial step might be the cancellation of fraudulent loans. As Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South has pointed out, this is becoming politically feasible: in 2007, Congress actually approved a general appropriations bill with a provision on suspending debt payments for 17 loans that were found to be fraudulent. From that provision alone the government was expected to save approximately P29.5 billion that it could have devoted to pressing social or energy needs, but the measure was vetoed by then President Arroyo.

Many development economists, among them Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, have increasingly reached the conclusion that countries with massive debt loads will find it very difficult to develop, owing to the channeling of national financial resources to debt repayment. In contrast to the Philippine experience, in Argentina, the late President Nestor Kirchner unilaterally reduced the debt burden of the country to foreign bondholders from 100 cents to the dollar to some 25 cents to the dollar in 2003. The bondhholders howled, but they eventually gave in. The result was an impressive 10 per cent per annum growth rate between 2003 and 2008 as financial resources were rechanneled from debt service to domestic investment.

If our country is to develop, if it is to have a 21st century renewable energy infrastructure, courage like Kirchner’s needs to be displayed by our leaders.

*INQUIRER.net columnist Walden Bello is a member of the House of Representatives representing Akbayan. He was formerly Chairman of the Freedom from Debt Coalition.

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[Statement] On the Mindanao Power Drama to privatize Agus-Pulangi, increase power rates and introduce dirty energy-sourced electricity -FDC

On the Mindanao Power Drama to privatize Agus-Pulangi,
increase power rates and introduce dirty energy-sourced electricity

FDC Position Paper
April 13, 2012

Mr. President, the Mindanao power supply issue has grabbed the media limelight and has spurred public discussions over the past few weeks. Technical issues and business concerns have received more than ample coverage in these exchanges. There is little about what really concerns the consumers who in Mindanao are now threatened with possible power rate increases which have been experienced in Luzon and the Visayas and whose population still includes a big segment who had been without electricity their entire lives. Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) in this position paper takes up the concerns and the interests of the consumers as consumers and also as citizens advocating for changes in the power industry that will serve our homegrown industries and agriculture and overall human development.

Mr. President, the highly flawed policy framework of EPIRA is the problem behind the Mindanao power supply issue. This law is designed for big business interests, not for public service. Before EPIRA was passed, the former National Power Corporation was responsible for generating electricity as well as developing power transmission lines. But EPIRA in effect removed this fundamental role of the State. What EPIRA did was to pave the way for private investors to come in and chart the course of generating electric power in our country. This law also gave the control and management of a major pillar of the industry – our national power transmission lines to a foreign State corporation– State Grid of China with Henry Sy’s SM Holdings Corporations as its partner.

In short, the matter of developing electric power supply and management has been left at the mercy of the private sector, an oligopoly of a few big, long-entrenched family/corporate interests.

What exactly is the Mindanao power supply problem?

The following provisions pertain to specific mandates of the law in relation to ensuring security of supply of electricity;

Chapter III, Section (37) letter (d) states that the DOE “Ensure the reliability, quality and security of supply of electric power”.

Chapter V, Section (47) letter (j) declares “NPC may generate and sell electricity only from the undisposed generating assets and IPP contracts of PSALM Corp. and shall not incur any new obligations to purchase power through bilateral contracts with generation companies or other suppliers”.

Chapter VIII, General Provision Section (71) Electric Power Crisis Provision – Upon the determination by the President of the Philippines of an imminent shortage of the supply of electricity, Congress may authorize, through a joint resolution, the establishment of additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as it may approve.

All of the provisions related to security of power supply we cited above did not work.

After ten years under EPIRA of providing the few big corporate firms practically every incentive to shield them from major business risks and allowing them to practice market abuse, these big corporate interests hardly contributed to increasing the already existing power generation capacity in the country. The DOE simply surrendered its mandate to private initiative. Through cross-ownership of generation and distribution components of the industry and high-level rent-seeking practices, these elites managed to impose high electricity rates – now the highest in Asia and extract massive super-profits at the expense of our consuming public, our industries, and other small distribution units like the rural electric cooperatives.

Since 2009, the supply shortage has been repeatedly felt every summer and yet, the DOE continuously ignore the need to develop additional capacity for baseload and peaking plants.

Why? One, instead of rehabilitating Agus-Pulangi, it was allowed to deteriorate. These power plants were never harnessed to full capacity and developed further, and the main resource of these two great rivers, the Lake Lanao, was never nurtured.
Two, while DOE claims that they put up coal power projects in anticipation of eventual shortages, such coal power plants takes 3 years before they become fully operationalized. These projects cannot be an iimmediate solution for this period. More importantly, they are not climate-friendly alternative solutions.

Third, NPC power barges are continuously privatized, leaving the government without reserve capacity to deploy in times of need.

Ultimately, in order to entice private investors to come in, scenarios of power shortage are bound to appear and can be hyped to pave the way for further increasing electric power rates and consequently, big corporate profits. According to some legislators and proponents of EPIRA, the comparatively low generation cost in Mindanao is not a competitive price and therefore there is a need to increase its generation costs. In September 2010, the total average production cost of Agus-Pulangi (per kwh/excluding depreciation) is only P0.2134 as compared to Iligan Diesel Power plant amounting to P7.7910 and Power barges 104 is PP7.3367.

A study made by the University of the Philippines, National Engineering Center last July 2011 shows the gaps between DOE’splanning and management of power generation and and private sector delivery in terms of increasing power supply.
“A gap exists between the generation capacity planning of the DOE and the commitment of the private sector to build power plants. Commitments did not translate into actual installed capacity according to the projected timelines and commissioning year. The DOE has reverted to a deterministic approach for capacity planning that is largely deficient instead of the probabilistic approach that is widely used worldwide. Supply security is further placed at risk by the reliance on a single resource at the grid level and the indexation of the price of domestic natural gas and geothermal steam to the international price of oil and coal, respectively that exposes much of power generation to the volatility of the international price of these two energy resources”. This was presented during the National Pre Power Summit last June 25 to 26 organized by FDC.

Clearly, Mr. President, the problem can be rooted in the law, EPIRA, in policy direction, and the quality of planning and management.

Our proposal and recommendations are the following:

Immediate solutions
1. Provide all stakeholders the results of the actual technical audit of all declared generating capacity in Mindanao in order to guide the public about the real status of the base-load requirements, mid-range and peaking capacity. Likewise, establish a critical review and validation of the actual demand during this period to immediately match the supply and demand.
2. Dispatch and optimize operating capabilities of all units as well as the status of the on-grid transmission lines to verify the level of its efficiency in order to maximize the available and dispatch supply on the grid.
3. Immediately improve and rehabilitate the Agus-Pulangi Hydro Units. There are indications that vested cartels are positioning themselves to corner a huge share of the electricity market by allowing the intentional decay of said power plants to pave the way for private sector take over and the introduction of highly polluting fossil fueled power plants that will also virtually guarantee long-term high electricity prices, since contracts will remain pegged to the volatile oil market and the ever increasing international price of coal.
• 3.1 Implement required equipment repairs, rehabilitation and uprating
• 3.2 Dredge identified location
• 3.3 Implement watershed reforestation and development projects (sustained water flow)
4. Provide a clear program for the demand-side management for all consumer class to manage the demand and supply
5. Stop the NPC privatization of assets

Medium-term approaches

1. Completion of the Balo-i Flood Control Project,
2. Address the technical problem of Agus-7,
3. Facilitate the utilization of all embedded generators of Commercial and Industrial establishments via a mutually acceptable mechanism
4. The government must facilitate the development of; Agus-3; 240MW, Pulangi-5; 300MW and Bulanog-Batang; 150MW.
Long Term solutions
1. Conduct a review of EPIRA towards overhauling the law
2. Conduct a democratic and participatory planning and demand-side management to come up with a Mindanao Energy Plan in 20 to 30 year plan using the framework that signals the transition to clean energy.
2.1 Implement Mindanao-wide integrated resource assessment
2.2 Implement socialized feed-in tariffs immediately to encourage more RE investments and make sure that these are carried out in a more equitable and just manner, consistent with the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities: those who emit more, must pay more for the transition to clean energy

3. Encourage embedded mini-hydro project among the Distribution utilities
4. Develop Renewable energy sources to be led by the government instead of over reliance on private investors
5. Consider Solar Energy in Homes/Offices

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[From the web] Sumpa ng pribatisasyon! Mataas na presyo ng kuryente! -workersstandpoint.wordpress.com

Sumpa ng pribatisasyon! Mataas na presyo ng kuryente!

workersstandpoint.wordpress.com

NOONG Marso 29, inanunsyo ng Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ang pagtataas ng presyo ng kuryente sa buong bansa simula Mayo. Ang dahilan: tumaas daw ang generation charge ng National Power Corporation (Napocor). Itataas nang P0.6904/kwh sa Luzon, P0.6060/kwh sa Visayas at P0.0442/kwh sa Mindanao.

Ibig sabihin, dagdag na P138.08 kada buwang bayarin ng isang pamil-yang kumokonsumo ng 200 kwh/buwan sa taga-Luzon, P121.2 kada buwan sa taga-Vizayas at P8.84 sa taga-Mindanao. Gayong nagbibingi-bingihan ang Malakanyang sa kahilingang dagdag na sahod ng mga manggagawa.

Kuryente sa Maynila, pinakamahal sa buong Asya

Sa isang pag-aaral ng Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), ikinumpara nito ang mga gastusin sa pagnenegosyo (cost of doing business) sa may 31 bansa sa rehiyong Asia-Ocenia. Kasama sa ginawang survey ang gastos sa kuryente.

Ayon sa JETRO, ang pinakamahal na residential rate ay nasa Metro Manila -$0.23/kwh. Ang susunod ay ang Tokyo, Japan – $0.20/kwh; Singapore – $0.20/kwh; Sydney, Australia at Cebu City – $0.19/kwh; Colombo, Sri Lanka – $0.18/kwh; Mumbai, India – $0.16/kwh; Phom Penh, Cambodia – $0.15/kwh; Hongkong, China – $0.14/kwh; Auckland, New Zealand at Taipei, Taiwan – $0.12/kwh); Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at Karachi, Pakistan – $0.11/kwh); Szenzhen China at Chennai, India – $0.10/kwh); Jakarta, Indonesia, Shanghai at Guangzhou sa China at New Delhi, India – $0.09/kwh.

Ayon pa rin sa JETRO, ang presyo ng kuryente sa mga negosyo sa Metro Manila na nagkakahalaga ng $0.12 – $0.13 kada kilowatthour ay parehas lang ng singil sa Tsina (Beijing at Shanghai) at sa Thailand bagamat ang gastusin na ito ay naipapasa nila sa kanilang mga kostumer.

Mas mahal ang presyo ng kuryente sa residential kaysa komersyal/industriyal na mas malakas kumunsumo! Dapat subsidized ang residensyal ng komersyal/industriyal.

Nakakabingi ang katahimikan ng Malakanyang sa mataas na presyo ng kuryente gayong ito ang isa sa klarong mga dahilan kung bakit ayaw pumasok ng mga imbestor sa Pilipinas!

Read full article @ workersstandpoint.wordpress.com

[In the news] NGO seeks Congress intervention in PSALM rate hike plea -InterAksyon.com

NGO seeks Congress intervention in PSALM rate hike plea
InterAksyon.com
February 9, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – The liabilities of the agency tasked to bring down the debt of state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) has ballooned from P807.8 billion when it was created in 2001 to nearly P1 trillion last year, according to non-government Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC).

In a statement, FDC said the surge in its debt shows that Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), which was created under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), failed to address the fiscal difficulties of Napocor.

At end-2011, the government owed P915.19 billion, with PSALM accounting for P767.08-billion or 83.8 percent, broken down into P 744.63 billion worth of outstanding liabilities and P22.45 billion in contingent liabilities. This was despite Napocor’s sale of 25 out of 31 power plants, as well as the privatization of the power grid operations under National Transmission Corp. (TransCo).

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[In the news] Militants walk out of consultation on power supply deal in GenSan – www.mindanews.com

Militants walk out of consultation on power supply deal in GenSan
By Allen V. Estabillo, http://www.mindanews.com
January 12, 2012

 GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 January) – Some 50 members of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan walked out of the consultation yesterday on a power supply contract between the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) and the Sarangani Energy Corporation, after organizers prevented the group’s spokesperson from speaking beyond the time set for the presentation of its position.

The protestors later joined some 30 other companions outside the Lagao Gym, the venue of the consultation, where they held a picket and rally.

Consultation moderator Ed Cejar ordered sound engineers of the gym to cut off the sound system when Bayan’s Kath Cortez refused to stop reading a prepared statement after consuming her allotted time to air questions and positions during the open forum.

Under the contested power sales agreement, the two parties agreed to a 70-megawatt base load sales-purchase deal at an indicative price of P5.06 per kilowatt hour when SEC starts generating electricity in 2015, a slight increase from the prevailing P4.87 per kilowatt hour price of the National Power Corporation (NPC).

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

[In the news] GenSan getting 32 mw less of electricity from NAPOCOR – mindanews.com

GenSan getting 32 mw less of electricity from NAPOCOR
By Allen V. Estabillo, mindanews.com
January 10, 2012

 GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/9 Jan) – The National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) has cut down its power allocation for this city and nearby areas in Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces by 32 megawatts (mw) as a result of the dwindling capacity of its hydropower plants in Mindanao, an official of distribution utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) said.

Rodolfo Ocat, Socoteco II general manager, said the NAPOCOR reduced its contracted power supply to the cooperative’s service area starting this year due to the unstable condition of its maintained power plants, especially the hydropower plants in Bukidnon and in the Lanao provinces.

Socoteco II’s service area covers this city, the entire Sarangani province and two municipalities in nearby South Cotabato.

“NAPOCOR’s power supplies to the Mindanao grid was actually on the decline since last year, that’s why we started looking for other power sources to cover for the deficit,” Ocat said.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

[Press Release] AMRSP and Running Priest, Fr. Robert Reyes, join the Power-Off 10.11.11

The Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), represented by Fr. Marlon Lacal, O. Carm, and Fr. Robert Reyes, together with other sectors of society led by the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) in a press conference last October 7 have united in a campaign against high electricity prices.  They are now collectively calling upon the public to join the upcoming ‘Power-Off’ on 11 October 2011 at seven thirty until eight in the evening.

According to AMRSP, given that the people are his boss, the President must now undertake measures to remove from their painful shoulders this burden which was caused by the high power rates.

“It is unjust and immoral to pass onto the poor people the continuously increasing electricity rates since they were never responsible in incurring the debts of the National Power Corporation (NPC/Napocor).  The ones who continue to cause these hardships and difficulties are the monopolist capitalists,” said Fr. Marlon Lacal, O. Carm of AMRSP.

“The Church cannot understand why these high power rates are being passed onto the people since the wages of the workers remain as low as before; likewise their benefits remain inadequate”, added Fr. Marlon.

On the other hand, Fr. Robert Reyes proposed the idea of a “Green Sabbath”.  When God created the world in seven days, the last day was set aside to appreciate its beautiful creations. “I am proposing that we have one Saturday in a month to shut-off our lights and electricity, nobody will drive which consumes fuel or gas, we will stop going to the malls to buy and consume here.  This is to show the dismay of the people and in some way cause the loss of earnings to the five giant businessmen who cause hardships to the people because they are reasons why the cost of electricity is so high–Aboitiz, Lopez, Cojuangco, Pangilinan and Sy.  They are very greedy and all they want to do is to eat us all up in order to make 100% profits”.

The Church sector supports the calls to stop the anticipated power rate increase, to bring down these rates, to stop the privatization of the remaining contracts and plants owned by Napocor, and to junk the failed Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) because of the broken promises to bring down the price of electricity.

[Press Release] Stop NAPOCOR’s greed! The public first over profits for a few!- SANLAKAS

The Left coalition SANLAKAS conducted a protest rally this morning in front of the main office of the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) in Quezon City. Around one hundred (100) mass activists of SANLAKAS picketed the NAPOCOR to angrily express the general public’s rising opposition to the constant overpricing of power rates by the country’s largest electricity provider and generator.

During their protest action, a team of militant activists surprised the posted security guards when they hurled several used-up light-bulbs at the NAPOCOR seal emblazoned on the front wall of the NAPOCOR office.  The smashing of the light-bulbs by SANLAKAS, which momentarily roused the guards at the front gate, was done as a symbolically dramatic act to show the still-growing anger of the basic masses against the state power corporation’s anti-poor corporate practices.

This militant mass action, which was led by Rasti Delizo, the SANLAKAS Spokesperson, is in support of the Freedom from Debt Coalition’s (FDC) ongoing national mass campaign against power-rate(s) hikes and to repeal the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). This campaign, which began early this month, will culminate in a ‘National Day of Protest’ on October 11, 2011 through simultaneous coordinated ‘Power-off’ actions (a temporary shutdown of electricity in pre-selected areas and communities) nationwide from 7:30-8p.m. on this date.

According to Delizo, “SANLAKAS totally opposes the highly-selfish profiteering schemes of NAPOCOR aimed at making quick greedy profits by passing on its very high power rates and past debts (incurred since the Marcos dictatorship) to the innocent consuming public.  This power sector-based arrangement is legally protected by the privatization-oriented EPIRA and has long ago been a neoliberal weapon of mass devastation to permanently ensure the economic-social destruction of the majority of our poor masses who depend on a daily power supply to live decent and humane lives.”

The SANLAKAS Spokesperson further said, “With a national economic dilemma looming upon our country’s horizon due to the worsening global capitalist crisis, our country’s poor majority cannot afford to just stand idly by. We must urgently unite against the Philippine State’s pro-neoliberal laws, such as the EPIRA, which privatize the essential utilities in favor of a few elite families. This fundamentally and dangerously sacrifices the common good by ensuring private profits over the people’s general welfare. We must now fight NAPOCOR’s constant greed and militantly resist NAPOCOR’s anti-poor and elitist economic agenda. And we can do this together by junking the EPIRA and replacing it with a new power sector framework that should basically ensure that our country’s power setup will eventually be placed under the control of the electricity-consuming public.”

The SANLAKAS protest rally was highlighted by a brief program with speakers representing various local mass organizations, including the Metro Manila Vendors’ Alliance (MMVA). The activist group peacefully ended its rally by self-dispersing after the media covered the light-bulb smashing action.

SANLAKAS PRESS RELEASE
30 September 2011
Mr. RASTI DELIZO (SANLAKAS Spokesperson)
Cellphone No.:  0999-8092461

[Featured Photos] Community staged picket against power rates hike – FDC

Photo by FDC

Members of community-based organizations affiliated with the Freedom from Debt Coalition stage a picket protest against high electricity rates during a “face-off” between FDC and commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission.

[In the news] High price of electricity is anti-women, anti-poor – www.cmaq.net

PHILIPPINES: High price of electricity is anti-women, anti-poor

MANILA, Philippines – In a society where women are mostly in-charge of managing the household budget, higher electricity rates mean additional burdens and deeper indebtedness for Filipino women, especially those who already find it hard to make ends meet.

Members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) – Women’s Committee picketing the office of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in Ortigas Center, sent this message to oppose an impending new wave of electricity rate hikes.

The National Power Corporation (Napocor) and Power Sector Assets Liabilities Management (PSALM) filed petitions with the ERC for the recovery of stranded debts and contract costs amounting to almost P140 billion. This translates to 40 centavos per kilowatt-hour that, with ERC’s go-ahead, will be collected through the universal charge.

Judy Ann Chan-Miranda of the FDC Women’s Committee urged the regulatory body to junk the petition of Napocor and PSALM, stressing that it is “anti-women” and “anti-poor.”

“High power rates means women taking on even more work to pay for electricity and have something left for other essentials. It means cutting the budget for food, medicines and healthcare, the education of children. It means having little choice but borrow from loan sharks to avoid disconnection,” said Chan-Miranda.

FDC filed an intervention before the regulatory body last August 19, stressing the lack of merit and substance of Napocor and PSALM’s petitions.

The coalition warned that the proposed rate hike is part of a series of petitions lined up by Napocor and PSALM to fully source from consumers the payments for Napocor’s $17 billion or P729 billion (P42 = $1) debt.

In a previous statement, FDC said the petition on stranded debts tends to lump all types of Napocor losses to be paid for by electricity consumers through the universal charge (UC). “This opens the door for Napocor to charge consumers twice – through its regulated rates and through the UC.”

The coalition added that “the amounts sought in the latest applications do not have any relation to our legitimate usage of electricity because these are mainly financial obligations in the form of debts, borne of past government incompetence, mismanagement and corruption.”

Read full article @ www.cmaq.net

[Press Release] Pambansang protesta laban sa mataas na singil sa kuryente, ikinasa – www.fdc.ph

POWER-OFF: National Day of Protest
Pambansang protesta laban sa mataas na singil sa kuryente, ikinasa

Isa sa mabibigat na pasanin ngayon hindi lamang ng mga karaniwang mamamayan, kundi maging ng mga negosyante, ang mataas na singil sa kuryente.

Nang maging batas ang Republic Act No. 9136 o ang Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) noong 2001, ipingako nito ang pagkakaroon ng abot-kaya at sapat na suplay ng kuryente.

Subalit, makalipas ang sampung taon, taliwas sa mga pangakong ito ang kinakaharap ng mamamayan. Halimbawa, P5 lamang kada kiloWatt-hour ang singil sa mga konsyumer ng Meralco bago maisabatas ang EPIRA. Ngayon, naglalaro sa halagang P11 hanggang P12 kada KiloWatt-hour ang presyo nito.

Bukod pa dito, maraming petisyon sa Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) na nag-aambang magdulot ng mas mataas na singil sa kuryente – Luzon (P6.0359/kWh), Visayas (P5.5857), Mindanao (P4.38/kWh), at konsyumer ng Meralco (P6.1465/kWh):
• Ang Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) ay humihingi ng karagdagang taas na P0.1059/kWh para sa Luzon at P0.1157/kWh para sa Visayas;
• Humihingi din ang PSALM at National Power Corporation (Napocor) ng adjustment sa universal charge (UC) na P0.39/kWh upang ma-recover ang ilang bahagi ng utang ng Napocor. Batay sa petisyon, P0.03/kWh ang kokolektahin sa loob ng 15 taon upang bayaran ang stranded debts; at P0.36/kWh sa loob ng apat na taon para sa stranded contract costs;
• Humihingi din ang PSALM ng adjustment ng base rate ng Napocor sa ilalim ng Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (GRAM) at Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment (ICERA) na magdudulot ng karagdagang taas na P4.72/kWh sa Luzon, P4.26/kWh sa Visayas at P3.17/kWh sa Mindanao;
• Ang National Grid Corp of the Philippines (NGCP) ay nagpetisyon na rin ng dagdag-singil na P0.82/kWh, na titilad-tilarin mula Oktubre 2011 hanggang Disyembre 2015 sa Luzon upang mabawi ang halagang P80.2 million na ginamit ng kumpanya sa rehabilitasyon at pagkumpuni ng mga nasirang transmission line dulot ng mga Bagyong Basyang and Juan noong 2010.
• Samantala, ang Meralco ay magtataas ng generation charge mula August 2011 ng P0.08/kWh bilang resulta ng pagtaas ng halaga ng kuryente sa wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) at ng mga power producer nito.
• Nakakuha na rin ang Meralco ng pagsang-ayon mula sa ERC na magdagdag ng singil na 3.06 centavos/kWh upang mabawi ang hindi nito nasingil mula Enero 26 hanggang Pebrero 25 noong 2010 na nagkakahalaga ng P944 milyon.

Bukod sa mga ito, maaari din magdulot ng pagtaas sa singil sa kuryente ang pagsasapribado ng malalaki at mahahalagang power plant:
• Ang Angat electric hydro-power plant sa Bulacan na kasalukuyang pinigil ng Korte Suprema ang pagsasapribado nito;
• Ang Unified Leyte Geothermal Plants na binayaran na ng mga mamamayan sa Eastern Visayas ngunit maaari silang singilin muli sakaling ito ay maisapribado; at,
• Ang Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex na nagbibigay ng murang kuryente sa Mindanao.

Dahil sa walang habas na pagtaas ng singil sa kuryente at sa pagsasapribado ng mga renewable energy-based power plant, magsasagawa ng “National Day of Protest” ang grupong Freedom from Debt Coalition sa ika-11 ng Oktubre. Layunin nito na hikayatin ang mga mamamayan na ipahayag ang kanilang saloobin hinggil sa mabigat na pasaning ito.

Hindi na kinakailangang lumayo pa ang mga mamayan sa kanilang lugar, maaari silang makiisa sa protesta kahit na sa loob lamang ng kanilang nasasakupan. “Power-off” o patay-ilaw at noise barrage mula 7:30 PM hanggang 8:00 PM sa ika-11 ng Oktubre ang kulminasyon ng protesta.

Naniniwala ang grupo na sa sama-samang pagkilos, magigising sa reyalidad ang gobyerno at mabibigyan-solusyon ang lumalalang sitwasyon sa kuryente.

Umaasa din ang grupo na maitutuwid na ang mga pagkakamali ng mga nagdaang administrasyon sa industriya ng kuryente. Isang paraan na nakikita ng FDC ay ang pagkakansela ng kontrata ng gobyerno sa mga independent power producer (IPPs). (30)

NOTES
• Stranded debts are any unpaid financial obligation of the Napocor that has not been liquidated by the proceeds from the privatization of the generating firm’s assets
• Stranded contract costs are the excess of the contracted cost of electricity under eligible contracts over the actual selling price of the contracted energy output of these contracts in the market
• Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (GRAM) recovers the cost of fuel and of electricity purchased from privately owned power plants
• Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment (ICERA) is a mechanism to recover the state power generator’s foreign exchange fluctuation costs
• Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) is the agency tasked under EPIRA to oversee the liquidation of Napocor’s assets to pay off its debts, and in the process lower power rates

Freedom from Debt Coalition
11 Matimpiin St., Brgy. Pinyahan, Quezon City 1100, Philippines
Phone: (+632) 921 1985 * Telefax: (+632) 924 6399
Website: http://www.fdc.ph * Email: mail@fdc.ph

Contact persons:
Milo Tanchuling, Secretary-General, +63.920.901.8711
Job Bordamonte, Program Coordinator, +63.920.914.9561
Bobby Diciembre, Media Officer, +63.920.905.9856

[Press Release] Junk Napocor, Psalm petition to increase universal charge, FDC urged ERC

MANILA, Philippines – The petition of National Power Corporation (Napocor) and Power Sector Assets Liabilities Management (PSALM) seeking to recover stranded debts and contract costs amounting to almost P140 billion or equivalent to 40 centavos per kilowatt-hour through the universal charge (UC) should be denied by the Energy Regulatory Commission for lack of merit and substance, according to the Freedom from Debt Coalition.

In a protest action outside the Ortigas office of the regulatory body coinciding the public hearing on the said petition, FDC members from various communities and Youth Against Debt brought giant “scissors” demanding cuts in electricity rates in the country, which, at present, has the highest residential power rates in Asia at 24.566 US cents per kWh.

The group also brought a giant paycheck illustrating the latest total debts of Napocor and PSALM, amounting to P729 billion ($17 billion, P42:$1) under the account name of Juan de la Cruz. They then cut up the check with scissors, symbolically rejecting the huge debts intended to be passed on to ordinary consumers in the next 25 years.

FDC claimed that PSALM is “hiding behind small numbers” because the agency’s “true and cruel intention” is to pass on the entire debt to ordinary consumers. The group added that raising awareness about this issue among the public is vital.

PSALM is mandated under Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to calculate the amount of stranded debt and stranded contract costs of Napocor. EPIRA defines stranded debts as any unpaid financial obligation of Napocor that has not been liquidated by the proceeds from the privatization of its assets. On the other hand, stranded contract costs are those excess contracted cost of electricity under eligible contracts over the actual selling price of the contracted energy output of these contracts in the market.

In their petition, Napocor and PSALM seek the approval of stranded contract costs portion of UC in the amount of P74.298 billion to be imposed at the rate of P0.3666/kWh, and stranded debts portion of UC in the amount of P65.019 billion at the rate of P0.0313/kWh. The petitioners seek to impose these additional rates to customers of the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao grids. They await the issuance of provisional authority in order to start charging electricity consumers with these additional rates pending approval of their petition.

Job Bordamonte, FDC power campaign coordinator, said that privatization of assets held by government-owned entities – in this case Napocor – “strands” certain costs. This is because obligations incurred in pre-existing expenses/debts pertaining to acquisition and maintenance of those assets would have been recovered by Napocor through its return-on-rate-base (RORB).

“But these could no longer be recovered when the assets were sold to private entities and could no longer be operated by Napocor for electricity-generation,” said Bordamonte.

In its intervention, FDC cited a paper by William J. Baumol and J. Gregory Sidak published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (Volume 18, Number 3, Summer 1995), explaining that these costs represent expenditures incurred in the past while meeting its obligation to serve all customers within the area in which it holds an exclusive franchise.

“However, the entry of competitors who are not burdened by such inherited expenses can prevent the utilities from recovering those costs,” FDC said.

The ERC has denied PSALM and Napocor’s first petition on 15 November 2010 due to their failure to substantiate their application for proposed rate increase. The original amount of the said application was P573 billion for stranded debts while stranded contract costs was around P22 billion and P26.865 billion. FDC was one of the many opposed to the said application.

However, FDC has learned during the budget deliberation last August 9 at the Lower House that PSALM’s most updated debts continue to surge, amounting now to $17 billion or P729 billion (P42:$1). FDC believes that a series of applications is still being worked out by PSALM and Napocor until the entire amount is paid for by consumers.

In addition, FDC said that the petition on stranded debts tends to lump all types of Napocor losses together to be paid for by electricity consumers through the UC. “This opens the door to double recovery for Napocor, such as actual and/or constructive recovery through its regulated rates and recovery through the UC,” FDC said.

According to FDC, “most of the amount in the latest applications does not have any relations to our legitimate usage of electricity because these are mainly financial obligations in the form of debts which are being borne-out over the past years of government incompetence, mismanagement and wrong policies that continue to aggravate the lingering problems of our national debt as well as our power industry.”

FDC said that despite the EPIRA’s formula of selling government assets, imposing various additional charges, and assuming P200 billion of Napocor debt, the debts of Napocor and PSALM continue to balloon while the lives of ordinary consumers worsen in the last ten years under the EPIRA law.

FDC said the present administration must acknowledge that this is no longer a business-as-usual approach in relation to the issue of ever-increasing power rates which are being left alone in the hands of ERC commissioners.

Invoking President Benigno S. Aquino III’s slogan of “matuwid na daan,” FDC said that this is a matter of national survival and that the need for a debt audit and cancellation of onerous Napocor loans are urgent. (30)

NEWS RELEASE
22 August 2011

[Press Release] After 10 years of implementation: EPIRA enriches “Voltage 5”

Ten years since the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), its promise of affordable and accessible electricity to all through privatization and a leveled playing field in the industry has turned into its complete opposite.

Today, the Philippines suffers from the highest residential and industrial power rates in Asia, even higher than Japan.  As a consequence, millions of Filipino consumers are much poorer, electricity wise—adding another facet to the worsening problem of Philippine poverty, including the increased burden on our women.  Another victim is our industries, the share of which in our gross domestic product (GDP) has been on a downward path for the past 25 years and our agriculture which has generally declined as a share of our GDP since postwar years.

In contrast to our electricity-starved citizenry and economy, five super-rich families have become much, much richer, having cornered the fruits of EPIRA privatization which in practice has dropped all pretensions of opening up the electric power industry to as many competitive players as possible.

The Lopez and Aboitiz families have reaped the oligopolistic super-profit bonanzas from the cross-ownership of power generation and distribution. To share the ever-enlarging super-profit pie now is the rising “pacman,” Manny V. Pangilinan to whom controlling ownership of Meralco, the distribution super-monopoly of Luzon, has passed.  Not far behind is Danding Cojuangco’s San Miguel Corporation which has grabbed 30 percent of power generation nationwide.

In addition, the formerly state-owned National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO), which handles high-voltage power transmission from power generation to distribution companies, is now in the hands of the private joint venture corporation, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).  Co-owners of NGCP are Monte Oro Grid Resources Corporation which is now owned by the One Taipan Holdings, Inc. of Henry Sy of SM chain of giant malls fame, the Coyuito-led Calaca High Power Corporation, and the China State Grid Industry Development Ltd, a Chinese State corporation which owns 40 percent of the shares. The current NGCP president is Henry Sy Jr., son of the SM taipan.  It is interesting to note that the Sys bought Monte Oro from Enrique Razon Jr., who is closely associated with former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and who made a large killing out of this sale in less than a year after winning the bid.

We recall that one of the desperate messages contrived by the Ramos administration to justify EPIRA is the need to pay the gargantuan debts of the state-owned National Power Corporation or NPC.  By 2001, total NPC debts stood at $16.3 billion or P831 billion (P51: US$1, 2001 exchange rate).

In accordance with EPIRA, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) was set up to privatize NPC power plants and settle its debts.  But as of 2010, NPC debts stood at $15.8 billion or P679.4 billion (P43: US$ 1, 2010 exchange rate), registering a small reduction.

PSALM’s failed to retire NPC debts despite repeated power rate increases and power adjustments under EPIRA which were all shouldered by consumers, not to mention the burden of additional taxes used to invest in NPC power plants – more than 90 percent of which have been sold to pay NPC debts. In addition, PSALM made major blunders that further aggravate its financial status like the losses from Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) trading in October 2008 to almost P1 billion. This is aside from an unconfirmed report that the agency gave an eight-month salary bonus to its officials and employees in 2010 despite its discouraging asset management performance.

So powerful has been the oligarchic clout over the electric power industry and oligarchic influence over state agencies that regulatory capture is the word that can best describe the fate of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). Time and again, consumers are up in arms protesting the bias of its decisions in favor of Meralco and other large distribution companies.

Against all facts and figures indicating the damaging effect of privatization under EPIRA on our consumers and the national economy, large vested interests and their allies in government are still hell-bent on privatizing the rural electric cooperatives.  This remaining social sector or non-profit, non-state sector of the electric power industry got the mandate to electrify most of our provinces, particularly during the Marcos regime.  Despite the traditional politics and management and financial troubles of a number of these cooperatives, many of them can claim success.

Ten years of a failed privatization scheme under EPIRA should convince the Philippine government, especially Congress, to overhaul it.  Our people need and deserve a new electric power reform law that will really provide affordable, accessible and clean electricity to all. They need and deserve an electric power industry where private participation can have a place but where the State and the public/social sector dominate to secure public welfare and guarantee a national development that is based on equitable growth, sustainability and gender equality.

RICARDO B. REYES
President, Freedom from Debt Coalition

Contact person:
Ricardo B. Reyes, FDC President, +63.918.907.0674
PRESS STATEMENT
08 June 2011

[Event] National Power Summit: “Lessons Learned, Challenges and Prospects for the Philippine Power Industry” – www.fdc.ph

On the 10th year anniversary of EPIRA
An initiative by
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)

in cooperation with

1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy Partylist (1-CARE)
Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (AMRECO)
Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC)
Foundation for Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI)
Fair Trade Alliance (FTA)

convenes a

National Power Summit

“Lessons Learned, Challenges and Prospects for the Philippine Power Industry”

Introduction

The power industry in the Philippines is at a crossroads.

With one of the highest industrial and residential power rates in Asia and in the whole world, the industry has made life harsher and harder for poor Filipinos.  Economic growth is also slow as the high cost of power has made our industries uncompetitive in the international market, the consequences of which are being shouldered by ordinary people – by workers for instance who suffer depressed wages and job losses, and by consumers who bear the brunt of high prices of goods and services.

Regrettably for over a decade, the Filipino people have not come close to savoring the taste and smell of an affordable and reliable supply of electricity. Under the pre-EPIRA set up wherein power generation and transmission were concentrated in a state monopoly, and where rural electric cooperatives tended to serve a more political than developmental (and democratic) function, rent-seeking, corruption and political patronage became the norm, culminating in the monstrosity of the Bataan nuclear power plant, the severe power shortage of the 1990s, and debts that even the World Bank found unsatisfactory.

The power crisis from the late 80s up to the early 90s was exploited by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the power-brokers in Malacanañg to tap the private sector in addressing the crisis by liberalizing the entry of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in power generation.  The supply shortage was addressed but the prohibitive cost of such cure was not told to the public until the mid-1990s.

The apparent haste of the National Power Corporation (NPC) in entering into contracts with IPPs without it seems much consideration of actual and realistically forecasted supply and demand conditions, and without prudent assessment of the risks and costs attached to such risks that NPC was absorbing in these contracts, created a new problem for the power sector. From a situation of shortage the pendulum shifted to an over-contracted supply that consumers had to pay for whether or not they were actually using the contracted capacity. This and many anomalous details in the contracts with IPPs also sank the NPC deeper into debt: US$9-B[1] of new debts arising from the purchased power contracts with the IPPs.  These onerous IPP contracts gave rise to the unjust collection of purchased power adjustment or PPA from the consumers.  From then on, PPA constituted the single biggest item in NPC’s tariff rates, amounting to not less than P3/kWh before the unbundling of rates. This quick fix solution also allowed the entry of dirty power plants utilizing fossil fuel such as coal and diesel which pollute the environment and add to CO2 emissions.

The enactment of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) in 2001 has put the IFIs power reform program in the country into full motion, with privatization as its main motor and deregulation as its accelerator.  With its proclaimed mission of lowering rates and ensuring efficient and reliable energy supply, EPIRA as it has been implemented over the past ten years has resulted to more price hikes and less competition.  In addition, the newly-created Luzon grid spot market under WESM has not been spared from price manipulation as highly concentrated demand and supply conditions make it extremely profitable for the players (private and state) to exercise and abuse market power.  Moreover, injury is aggravated when consumers are rendered helpless against these abuses and manipulations as the Department of Energy (DOE) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) do nothing to stop or prevent these from happening. And they continue to happen, with impunity.

The few families that dominated the power sector in the past remain as entrenched as ever if not more so, with two or three wealthy individuals and big business groups entering the fray since the passage of EPIRA in 2001. Privatization of the government’s assets has not resulted in de-monopolization and competition, but rather, higher concentration, vertically; and horizontally. This together with deregulation of generation and supply courtesy of the EPIRA has resulted in market abuse that has so far been unchecked by the regulators. And since the government’s liabilities were not privatized, we have recently learned that privatization of the assets of the National Power Corporation has done little to reduce its debts which will now be passed on to electricity consumers, rich AND poor.

Notwithstanding all these unmet objectives of EPIRA, the IFIs, government, and power-brokers/marketers contend that while reforms in the power industry may have suffered setbacks, all these are but a work in progress as actual privatization of the assets of NPC began only five years ago. Yet with privatization continuing at a more harried pace today, the future of the industry and the dream of consumers to have universal access to affordable, sustainable and reliable power, remain bleak. As far as ordinary consumers and the poor are concerned, the lights are still off.

A. Objectives:

1. To craft strong and unified positions on the government’s campaign to privatize remaining assets of NPC (Angat, Agus-Pulangi and Unified Leyte Geothermal Plant) and the rural electric cooperatives, and on the privatization of transmission

2. To develop and promote Filipino consumers welfare and interest in the power industry

  •     Affordable power rates
  •     Reliable, secure power supply
  •     Strategic and programmed democratization of ownership and control particularly in generation and distribution sectors
  •     Strategic and programmed shift towards renewable energy
  •     Active role of the public sector in transmission and in crucial power generation

B. Target participants:

1.       119 Rural Electric Cooperatives
2.       Legislators
2.1    Hon. Senator Chiz Escudero
2.2    Hon. Senator Gringo Honasan
2.3    Hon. Senator Antonio Trillanes
2.4    Hon. Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada
2.5    Hon. Congressman Walden Bello
2.6    Hon. Congresswoman Kaka Bag-ao
2.7    Hon. Congressman Michael Angelo Rivera
2.8    Hon. Congressman Salvador Cabaluna III

3.       Consumer groups
3.1    Save Angat Dam (SAD Sale)
3.2    Coalition of Consumers for the Deferment of the Privatization of the Tongonan Geothermal Power plants (UNIFIED Leyte)
3.3    PALAG Mindanao
3.4    FDC Local chapters (Ilo-ilo, Cebu, Negros, Evis, Davao, Westmin, Gensan)

4.       Business groups (c/o FTA)
5.       Associations and unions under REC’s (c/o APL, PM, NSU-NSA)
6.       Department of Energy (DOE)
7.       Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)
8.       Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM)

C. Concept and description of activities:

Day 1 – Pre-Summit (Public Forum and Focus Group Discussions)

  •     Morning session – Public Forum sponsored by the University of the Philippines-National Engineering Center

Lessons Learned – “Dissecting the Anatomy of EPIRA”

  •     Afternoon session – Breakout Groups (Focus Group Discussions)

Challenges – “Moving beyond the failures of EPIRA: Recommendations and other measures”

FGD (Session 1) – How to reduce power rates in the Philippines?
FGD (Session 2) – Solutions to NPC debts: Some recommendations
FGD (Session 3) – Making power industry more efficient, reliable and secured
FGD (Session 4) – A Viable and Democratic REC’s
FGD (Session 5) – What kind of regulation do we need and how?
FGD (Session 6) – Renewable Energy: Moving Forward

Day 2 – National Power Summit

Prospects

  •     (Moring session) – A Sustainable Framework for Electric Cooperatives in Regulated Public Utilities
  •     (Afternoon session) – Citizen’s report and recommendations on Power Industry – Multi-stakeholders gathering
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