Friday, September 16, 2011

Repeal EPIRA, reform the power industry

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 16, 2011) – A Filipino lawmaker has renewed calls for the Aquino government to repeal the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA and lower the electricity in the country.

Congresswoman Emmi De Jesus also accused President Benigno Aquino III of coddling the interests of power firms instead of the public.

“As long as President Aquino coddles the interests of the power giants, Gabriela Women’s Party will continue to voice out the demands and wishes of our marginalized women and their families. We will continue to lobby for the repeal of EPIRA. We will likewise call for the immediate enactment of HB 4847 or the Act Ordaining Reforms in the Power Industry,” De Jesus said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

She said a decade ago after the promised cheaper power rates through EPIRA, consumers are still “electrified” every time they receive their electricity bill.

The skyrocketing electricity rates, along with the incessant increase in the prices of basic goods and prime commodities, continue to impress its toll on poor families, she said.

De Jesus said data show that Manila Electric Company rates for residential users rose by 112.5 % and those of the National Power Corporation (NPC) went up by 86 % over the past ten years.

In 2001, she said NPC had debts at $16.39 billion and by 2010, it continued to owe $15.8B despite Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management shelling out $18B in 10 years to settle the obligations.

“This financial obligation is passed on to the citizens as taxpayers, who also shoulder higher power rates. EPIRA provided the legal framework for the privatization of the NPC and deregulation of the power industry. This paved the way for the creation of the Big 3 in the power industry who now controls 52% of the industry, namely, San Miguel Corporation (20%); the Lopez group (17%); and the Aboitiz group (15%),” De Jesus said.

No comments: