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Epira, the culprit behind high power rates

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Epira, the culprit behind high power rates
Failed promises of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001

Time and again the government has been promising that the privatization of government-controlled corporations and agencies would result in better services, lower rates and fees for the Filipino people while bringing in much-needed funds to the government. These privatization efforts have taken many forms: outright sale of government assets, contracting out functions of government agencies such as the purchase and importation of rice, Build-Operate-Transfer schemes, and the much touted Public-Private-Partnerships of the current Aquino government.
But the Filipino people’s experience with the power industry proved otherwise.
Sidebar: Power firms, creditors assured of billions, while consumers burdened with Napocor debt
The big three in the power industry
MANILA – Power rates are expected to increase again this month. Meralco, the biggest power distributor in the country, said it will increase its generation charge by 0.085 centavos per kilowatt-hour to 5.3721 per kWh.

A household consuming 100 kWh can expect an increase of P8.50 per kWh in their electricity bills while those that use 200 kWh a month will have to pay P17 more for August. Households that use up 300 kWh monthly can also expect an increase by as much as P25.50 per kWh.

The never ending increases in power rates are blamed on privatization, according to a study POWER FAILURE: 10 years of EPIRA, A people’s review on the impact of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, which was conducted by Bagong Alayansang Makabayan (Bayan), People Opposed to Warrantless Electricity Rates (Power) and independent think tank group Ibon.

According to Bayan, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) systematized and widened privatization and deregulation of the power industry in the country. Epira has paved the way for private corporations to control the transmission, generation and distribution of electricity. Corporations that control some of the distribution utilities also own generating plants.

Rates doubled under Epira 

Despite strong opposition from various sectors, Epira was railroaded by Malacañang’s allies in the House of Representatives and signed by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 8, 2001,

Epira, according to the Department of Energy aims to “bring down electricity rates and to improve the delivery of power supply to end-users by encouraging greater competition and efficiency in the electricity industry.” In its website, the DOE claimed that the Epira will make sure that the country will have reliable and competitively priced electricity. “The strategy is to put an end to monopolies that breed inefficiency, encourage the entry of many more industry players, and generate competition that will benefit consumers in terms of better rates and services.”

Ten years after, however, Bayan, Power and Ibon said Epira’s implementation is ten years of burden to consumers.... MORE

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/08/epira-the-culprit-behind-high-power-rates/


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