Consumers Should Start Seeing Lower Power Cost
Following the general decline in the cost of primary energy sources, electricity rates should be going down by now, a party-list lawmaker said on Sunday.
“It is not just the cost of oil that is down. Coal prices are also deflated,” House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty said.
“In fact, geothermal power producers are already slashing their tariffs so they can compete more aggressively with coal-based suppliers of electricity,” he added.
Ty said that about 41.4 percent of the country’s power supply is derived from geothermal resources; 28 percent from coal; 15 percent from natural gas; 11.4 percent from hydro; 3.9 percent from diesel and fuel oil; and the rest from biomass, biodiesel, solar and wind energy.
“Power rates should be going down on account of the overall decline in energy costs. If producers are cutting their tariffs, electricity distributors should be rolling back and not jacking up their rates,” Ty added.
The Manila Electric Co. announced that its customers will see their bills go up by P0.46 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) this April and by P0.72 per kwh in May, due to the one-month shutdown of the Malampaya natural-gas field that drives three large power plants in Luzon.
The lawmaker, however, said that even if the power generators dependent on Malampaya have to run on alternative fuels, the costs of those substitutes are also down, so the higher electricity rates may not be justified.
“Power producers and distributors should allow consumers to benefit from cheaper electricity, owing to the drop in energy prices,” he said.
Ty said that he expects the prices of leading energy sources to stay deflated, just like oil.
“The price of the global benchmark Brent crude oil has plunged below $55 per barrel, from a high of $115 in June last year, due to a global glut in supply amid falling demand,” he said.