The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) expressed concern over the looming increase in power rates that can affect the country’s productivity.
“We can consider these man-made calamities for how else to picture the heavy toll these will take on the budget of households and more so for enterprises and industries,” said lawyer Miguel Varela, president of the PCCI.
Varela mentioned that for those operating at 25-percent to 35-percent gross margin, the power cost surge could reduce their margins by 30 percent to 40 percent, and this could derail immediate efforts on industrialization.
As a quick fix, PCCI recommended the utilization of the Camago-Malampaya funds to partially subsidize the power cost surge.
For the longer term, PCCI suggested that the Energy Regulatory Board (ERC) and/or the Department of Energy (DOE) issue a policy that all power supply contracts (PSCs) shall specify that the power supplier shall be responsible and or accountable for providing the interim supply during the scheduled maintenance period. The same should be required even for forced outages.
Varela also emphasized that it is high time that government aggressively pursue exploration of indigenous sources of fuel, and bring in more investors.
At present, there is insufficient capacity reserve in the Luzon grid where the over 60 percent of Philippine economic activity is located.
“In order to support the estimated economic growth of 7 percent or more annually, the Philippines has to catch up and fast,” Varela stressed.