Don't pass power charges to consumers, Congress urged
Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star) - March 9, 2015 - 3:51pm
MANILA, Philippines - Labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-NAGKAISA (TUCP) on Monday called on the congressional panel deliberating on the emergency presidential powers resolution not to pass the additional cost on electric charges to consumers. 
 
The Congressional bicameral conference committee is deliberating on the resolution that ensures additional power charges for resorting to the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) estimated at between four centavos to 15 centavos per kilowatt hour.
 
"Workers are already in neck deep in rate increases for MRT fares, water, basic commodities and very soon tuition fees. Let's not make this hot summer any hotter than it is," TUCP national spokesman Alan Tanjusay said.
 
The House favors charging any additional increase to the Malampaya fund. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier came out with a statement that consumers should not shoulder any energy rate increase when the ILP is used.
 
On the other hand, the Senate panel, under Sen. Serge Osmena, is pushing for a pass-on of the charges to consumers believing that subsidizing the power bill will disguise the true cost of electricity leading to its inefficient use. 
 
The House also wants to limit emergency powers to only five months covering the critical period leading to March and April when the Malampaya natural gas plant goes under maintenance, ending in July. 
 
The Senate, meanwhile, believes that emergency powers should be extended until 2016 in anticipation of forced outages involving the larger plants.
 
"TUCP warns against exaggerating the scale of the shortage and unduly lengthening the emergency because it isn't so. Negative perceptions will drive away investors and that will mean no new jobs," TUCP vice president Gerard Seno said. 
 
The TUCP reiterated its call for the Department of Energy to take the lead in determining what is the appropriate level to meet the energy supply and what policies are necessary to make the power rates regionally competitive in the ASEAN. 

ALAN TANJUSAY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY GERARD SENO HOUSE SPEAKER FELICIANO BELMONTE JR. INTERRUPTIBLE LOAD PROGRAM MALAMPAYA MARCH AND APRIL SERGE OSMENA TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES
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