Amid public outcry over the power rate hike the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is pushing, the Department of Energy (DOE) will conduct public consultations to gather inputs from stakeholders on the possible amendments to Republic Act 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001.
In December, Meralco announced an unprecedented power rate hike and attributed it to the Malampaya natural gas field shutdown, which became controversial after Energy Undersecretary Raul Aguilos said that the increase might have been triggered by collusion among power producers.
The case was brought to Senate and the Department of Justice, and the Supreme Court eventually issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the rate hike.
On Monday, it was announced that the DOE has set a series of focused group discussions (FGDs) or public consultations to get comments and suggestions regarding Epira.
“We are encouraging concerned individuals and groups to attend. Your presence will provide us with the necessary perspectives for the effective implementation of or essential changes in the Epira,” said Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.
He said that the objective of these FGDs is to get the views and recommendations on how to enhance energy supply security at reasonable cost.
Following the FGDs, the DOE will also hold the Consultative Dialogue on Ensuring Energy Security at a Reasonable Cost on February 12.
Through the FGDs, each sector will present and discuss their respective positions and recommendations on how to achieve the objective of energy security, which may include amendments to the Epira.
In Luzon, the FGDs will be held in Mandaluyong on January 29, while in Visayas, FGDs will be held in Cebu on February 6. In Mindanao, the FGDs will be conducted in Davao City on February 6 and 7.