Future shock!
JAYWALKER - Art Borjal () - June 6, 2002 - 12:00am
It is like there is a contest as to who can suspend the Purchased Power Adjustment (PPA) longest. "I can do it for two months," said GMA. Which she did, in her Labor Day announcement cutting Napocor’s PPA by P0.85 per kilowatt-hour. Partial suspension though it was and only for a short spell at that, GMA’s action was nonetheless met with nationwide applause.
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Congress wants to do better. Much better. Under House 4741 seeking to amend RA 9136, the Electric Power Industry Act (EPIRA), collection of PPA would be deferred by anywhere between 15 to 25 years. Can anybody do better than that?
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The radical hotheads would do better if they have their way. They would just tear the contracts of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) so that they would have no more PPAs to shoulder. The public being naturally resistant to high power rates, any proposal to defer the PPA — the better if we totally switch it off – is lustily cheered. Say, has anybody thought about the consequences? Good for us if the PPA disappears from our electric bills. Too bad the disappearing act is not forever.
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The PPA would appear again as future shock in the form of accumulated inescapable obligations, which our children and grandchildren will have no choice but to bear. Borrowings will increase to enable Napocor and utilities to refinance the mismatch between what consumers pay as base electricity rate to what they pay out to power suppliers. Needless to say, the deficit will widen.
* * *
Future power rates will, over time, be loaded and saddled with costs of electricity consumed by previous generations. With their response to the PPA issue, our crop of leaders is not allowing the market to work. Such response sets the stage for future chaos. Obviously, future generations will not be happy with PPA obligations bequeathed them by their elders. They will take their cause to the street or otherwise do what they have to do to press their leaders into adopting the same populist response of previous leaders. The problem is, by that time 15 to 25 years from now, could the leaders afford to be populist? The reality is that populist response is not sound now, and much more will it be not sound in the future.
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For all that has been said against them, we need the IPPs. We will need more IPPs to invest in new plants. More IPPs will create healthy competition, to redound in better services and cheaper rates. To treat the IPPs as the villains in the power price hike issue is to drive them away. Competition would not prosper without IPPs. Not to mention that if there are no IPPs investing in new power plants, power shortage would be imminent.
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If the privatization of Napocor is to succeed, industry players must be assured that the rules would be followed and that they would be protected from unfair practices. They have to be certain that the markets will work. They have to be convinced that good economics will prevail over bad politics. Otherwise, privatization will fail.
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We need not look far to see adverse effects of shortsighted solutions in dealing with the PPA problem such as the prevailing crackdown on IPPs, wich has the charge atmosphere of a witch-hunt. Indonesia now faces an energy crisis in the next few years because of the continuous renegotiations with IPPs. As a result, power companies have refused to enter the Indonesian energy sector. In the fact of mounting demand for electricity, no new plants are being build or scheduled.
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Egon Nile C. Jordan of 4 Hillside Drive, Loakan Proper, Baguio City to share his appreciation and gratitude to our fellow countrymen abroad who are working for the welfare of our OFWs. Specifically, he points to the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, specifically to The Office of the General-Consul Madam Minda G. Cruz and OWWA.
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Recently, Jordan sent an e-mail to the Philippine Embassy seeking their help for the repatriation of one domestic helper who was subjected to humiliating situations.
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What is really gratifying and worth mentioning about the Consul-General’s Office is this. When Jordan sent an e-mail, it was addressed generally to the Philippine Embassy-Singapore. He was surprised when after five days, I received a reply from the Consul-General herself telling me that her office is already making steps for the early repatriation of our poor and unfortunate OFW domestic helper!
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Without much promises or assurances from her Office, she just informed that they are doing their best for the early repatriation of the subject domestic helper. After that, I received no more information from her office, and he thought that was it. Being so busy for the couple of weeks and hearing no news from her Office, he again sent an inquiry e-mail to her regarding his request.
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To his utter surprise, he was informed that the subject domestic helper was already repatriated to Manila. I was not only surprised but could not believe it. With just an e-mail request, her Office was fast and effective enough to act on the request! Kahanga-hanga sila! Konting salita, napakarami na palang nagawa!
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The parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, friends, the rescued domestic helper and Jordan would like to express their appreciation to Madam Minda G. Cruz of the Consul-General Philippine Embassy in Singapore and her staff for the fast and unconditional help they had extended. Nakakatuwa at nakakagalak malamang merong mga kababayan nating nagmamalasakit sa kapwa kababayang nangangailangan ng kanilang tulong.
* * *
Thoughts For Today:

Having courage for the great sorrows
of life and patience for the small ones;
and when you have laboriously
accomplished your daily task,
go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
* * *
There is real magic in enthusiasm.
It spells the difference between
Mediocrity and accomplishment.
* * *
My e-mail addresses: jaywalker@pacific.net.ph and artborjal@yahoo.com

BORDER CELLPADDING CENTER IPPS NAPOCOR PHILIPPINE EMBASSY POWER PPA WIDTH
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