Palace assures sanctions will be imposed vs abusive power firms

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Malacañang on Wednesday assured that the government will hold power firms to be found accountable by enforcing appropriate sanctions in case of apparent abuse.

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Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a press conference, issued the statement following reports of the possible collusion among power generators in the recent power rate hikes, the most in the country’s history.

“The government’s foremost concern is to ease the people’s burden on the imposition of power rate adjustments brought about by the Malampaya shutdown,” he said.

As stated in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) law, Coloma said that “both DOE [Department of Energy] and ERC [ Energy Regulatory Commission] are mandated to ascertain that power rate adjustments are not driven by anti-competitive or market abuse practices.”

“In this regard, the DOE has instructed the ERC to look into the outages in several power plants that occurred while the Malampaya repairs were taking place,” he said.

Both the energy department and the ERC are also working with the Philippine Market Corporation to address this concern, he added

Meanwhile, Coloma said that the administration through the energy department is exerting continuing efforts in finding additional solutions to power sector problems.

“The ERC adopted the approach of the DOE for a staggered implementation of the adjustment in three tranches,” Coloma said.

“Other options for easing the consumers’ burden are being studied including tighter monitoring of the schedule of shutdowns of power generators,” he added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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