Thursday, December 8

KO demands ERC to stop Electricity from Raising Rates

KURYENTE.ORG is challenging the Energy Regulatory Commission and chairman Atty Monalisa Dimalanta to decide on the petition of San Miguel-owned South Premiere Power Corp. and Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to amend their contract and impose a debilitating rate hike on consumers.

The insistence of the San Miguel Corp. (SMC)-owned companies to amend their contracts with the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) because of their fears that it results in losses is an insult to both the government and the consumers.

When both the South Premiere Power Corp. and San Miguel Energy Corp. signed the contracts with Meralco, they legally committed to deliver what needed to be delivered, no ifs, no buts.

To ask the Energy Regulatory Commission to change the rules for themselves is mocking the legal processes of the government, to say the least.

The irony is that on the other hand, another SMC-owned company, Petron Corp., took advantage of the volatility of the petroleum industry to double its profits for the first half of the year based on its own report to regulators.

All three companies used the same situation in their pursuit of more profits and the only difference is that while the two power companies claimed they would lose, Petron, which is separately publicly listed, has been busy depositing money into its accounts.

It is very revolting when a company tries to condition the minds both of the government and its consumers that it would be on the losing end because of the contract it swears to abide by legally. One must remember that no one forced the company to sign the contract; in fact, it basically put its best foot forward to ensure that it won in the bidding by committing to better contractual obligations than those of its competitors as far as the consumers are concerned.

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If a company cannot respect its contractual obligations and the Competitive Selection Process, it must close shop and allow those who could deliver these obligations as it does not have any moral ascendancy in staying in the industry.

So we ask the ERC, now under the new leadership, not only to junk the petitions both of South Premiere Power Corp. and San Miguel Energy Corp. but also to conduct another (CSP) Competitive Selection Process to replace these companies who fail to deliver their contracts and penalize them by black listing from future bidding. In this way, they learn the lesson that the government is serious about running its affairs and penalizing those who mock the rules on legal obligations.

In sports, erring teams and players are punished especially if the wrongdoings pertain to contractual obligations; why can’t the government do the same when the welfare of the consumers is attacked?

It is about time that government processes are respected and that this will only happen if those holding the reins are committed to protecting the rights of every consumer.

We also appeal to Senate Energy Chair, Senator Raffy Tulfo to expand his investigations on companies that are in violation or failed to deliver their contract after winning the Competitive Selection Process. (NIC SATUR JR., NATIONAL COORDINATOR, KURYENTE.ORG)