Electricity price hikes to take negative effect on the economy

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Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said on Tuesday that the upcoming raise in electricity prices will negatively affect the economy and can take a toll of the country’s gross domestic product.

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In a press briefing at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) headquarters on Tuesday, Balisacan told reporters that the electricity price hikes up to P4.15 per kilowatt hour (kwh) may affect different sectors of the economy.

“[We are examining] the issue particularly running our models [and]we can see what’s the impact of that in inflation [and]cost of doing business. Clearly, various sectors of the economy would be affected differently on the power intensive sectors, some of them are manufacturing [that]would be affected adversely,” Balisacan said.

“The [P4.15 per kwh electricity price hike] could also impact on the purchasing power of the consumers and could create pressure in inflation,” he added.

Balisacan, also the NEDA director general, said that they are already assessing “quantitatively” the effect on different sectors as of the moment, and the results of the evaluation is likely to be released next week.

“Quantitatively, we’re looking at that. Hopefully, within next week, we could get all the data,” Balisacan said.

The concern stemmed from the Meralco notice of a raise of P4.15 per kwh on monthly electricity rates as the Energy Regulatory Commission approved the proposal earlier within the month.

The electricity rate increase is seen to impact on businesses and households as the country pushes for the rise in manufacturing and industry sectors, as well as the consumption-driven economy at present.

Kristyn Nika M. Lazo

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