Power rate hike due to Petilla’s boo-boo and electioneering

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It’s no longer funny to call President Aquino’s administration a “student-council” government. Its incompetence will cost you and me— if the Supreme Court doesn’t rule Meralco’s steep rate hike for December illegal— lots of money, because of the unwarranted electricity expenses.

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While the structure of our power industry is already so flawed that we will suffer the highest rates in the world, Energy Secretary Carlos Petilla played a big, stupid role in the spike in electricity rates for December.

Meralco had justified the hike by claiming that it had to buy power from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), which got to be expensive because of a sudden shortage of electricity in November. This was due, it claimed, to the scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns of several power generators. The shutdown of the Malampaya facility that had produced the cheaper natural petroleum gas also forced the system to use more expensive fuel, and therefore more expensive electricity.

But that’s not the whole story. The crucial question that has industry insiders shaking their head in disbelief: Why wasn’t the government-owned 650-megawatt Malaya thermal plant powered on? It might not have filled all of the demand required, but it would have reduced the shortage so that Meralco wouldn’t have needed to buy (or use as an excuse) — buy power at the WESM for an astronomical P33 per kilowatt-hour?

This has in fact been the role of the Malaya plant, which it has played every November and December in the past years, when generators and the Malampaya facility shut down for maintenance.

Malaya is in fact, according to statement early this year by the state-owned Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) which owns it, designed to provide the “much-needed additional capacity for the Luzon grid when some of the island’s base load power plants are not producing either due to forced outages or preventive maintenance activities.”

Power industry sources in fact has been stunned at such government screw up that they even run simulations on what the average WESM price would have been from November 11 to December 10 last year (the period Meralco claimed they had to buy at high prices from it) if the Malaya plants were put on line. Instead of P22 per kilowatt-hour, it would have been 75 percent lower, at the normal P5.4, the level during the months before November when Meralco rates were steady.

In a meeting with CEOs of power generators Petilla called on Dec. 26 to discuss why there had been a power shortage in November, CMI Holdings President Isidro Consunji asked the energy secretary why the Malaya plant did not run.

Petilla reportedly surprisingly responded that he had the matter “investigated by the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission). “

What?

Petilla is the vice-chairman of Psalm, its chairman is finance secretary Cesar Purisima and the other board members are secretaries Florencio Abad, Arsenio Balisacan, Leila de Lima and Gregory Domingo. You read it right, the body heading Psalm are Aquino’s top officials.

Petilla as energy secretary is technically and in practice the big boss of Psalm, who orders it what to do. And he claimed he’d ask the ERC to find out why the plant his firm owns didn’t operate?

The truth is that Petilla forgot to order Malaya to run, or maybe, he didn’t even know that it could be ordered run so there wouldn’t have been any power shortage that Meralco would use as an excuse for its rate hike.

Petilla has been frantically trying to cover-up for his big boo-boo, spreading the fallacy that Malaya was also on a maintenance shutdown scheduled to end in October.

But in a November 4 coordination meeting among DOE officials, Malaya’s executives committed its first unit to run at 260 MW, and its unit 2 at 350 MW.

Or probably Petilla forgot that government had a Malaya power plant. After all he was so engrossed over the devastation of his home province Leyte that he had even vowed he would resign if the area still didn’t have power by Christmas. Or was it simply because his expertise as three-term Leyte governor just didn’t prepare him to grasp fast the intricacies of running a nation’s power system?

But surely, Petilla would have a deputy in charge of such crucial matters as ordering a power plant to run to prevent a power shortage.

Yes he has: Undersecretary Raul Aguilos, who was appointed to his post only September 28, 2013 by Aquino, who believed Petilla’s word that Aguilos would be perfect as energy undersecretary, after his career in the Land Transportation Office. He was for many years regional director covering the energy secretary’s home province in Leyte when he was governor.

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You read that right, Aguilos’ career has been in the agency giving out drivers’ licenses and registering vehicles. His most important qualification for being appointed to his post was that he was Petilla’s kababayan (province-mate) and reputedly, for some reason, he was quite close to the energy secretary throughout his three terms as Leyte governor. Or maybe for some reason, as in the case of former LTO director Virginia Torres, Aquino is fond of appointing LTO regional directors to high offices.

If you still haven’t heard, that “KKK” label that has been stuck on this administration doesn’t just mean “Kaibigan, Kaklase, Kabarilan,” There is a fourth “K”, which means kababayan.

How the hell did we get to this? A pulitiko and his kababayan running our power sector, and their boo-boos to be charged on us? We shouldn’t be surprised.

Incompetents will be appointed by an incompetent, as long as they’re yellow.

This power rate hike is such a quintessential illustration of how Aquino and his KKK are ruining and would ruin this country.

(And what about the “electioneering” in this column’s title? Power industry sources claimed that many of the generators’ shutdowns in November were due to the fact they could no longer postpone the required maintenance of their plants. Petilla in March and April told them to postpone their maintenance in order not to risk a power shortage that would have either pushed Meralco prices or, worse, caused brownouts. Why was Petilla so concerned at that time? The May midterm elections obviously.)

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
www.rigobertotiglao.com and www.trigger.ph

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18 Comments

  1. Petilla is not from Tacloban. he’s from Palo wherein his mother happens to be the municipal mayor. They’re were not originally yellow. Their colors vary depending on what is malacañang’s current color. They were even fed by the “REDS” a long time ago…..

  2. Felix Servidad on

    Yeah! You and me will bear the burden of this incompetence government, until 2016 for Pnoy alone. plus for the new government, why? Because I guess it will take time for the new government to recover from wrath of Pnoy. the wrath of Yolanda is just limited in the visayas and the nearby provinces but the wrath of Pnoy you cannot imagine, the whole nation will suffer Why? because of the very high cost of electricity, the foreign investors will not even think to invest in our country, the worst, those who are already in the country, will begin to pull out one by one as a result Juan dela cruz will suffer the consequence, many will be out of job hunger will also strike the nation and lawlessness.

  3. hehehe taka pa kayo kailangan ng pondo ng lopez para sa PPP project kaya sa taong bayan kukuhanin ang pamumuhuna nila tapos ang sosyo ng gobyerno ay ang mga taxes

    PPP = peoples money + people taxes
    income = private company of lopezes, pangilinan, cojuangco, aquino

    lahat yan me basbas ni penoy

  4. The board is composed of Pnoy;s inner circle…? Sanamagan,,,kaya pala walang nangyayari…

    Itong si Petilla, is just another Roxas…super obvious na invested din siya sa kikitain ng mga power producers…baka sila-sila din mga investors or may-ari ng mga gencos…?

  5. Jos ko! Kaya pala lagi talo Bayan dahil sa ganyang mg Tao nakaluklok sa mga sangay ng pamahalaan.
    Gents, the mother was installed by people power, why cant we do it this time to unseat the son?

  6. Meralco is bleeding people to death. And they have the guts to say, they will have to schedule the brown-outs to compensate for the losses in deference to the SC’s TRO.. Just imagine the charges on system loss, It runs to billions claiming that customers have to pay for it, Is it the fault of clients when the power is stolen or lost through negligence?

  7. Unless the government will start operating its own generating plants the cost of power here will continuously increase in the years to come. No private sector will invest on the plants with a return on investment less than 10 percent. Only the government can do that. Just make sure that Napocor will be manned by non political appointees.

  8. This past several weeks,your expose on the Meralco rate hike is so timely and TRUTHFULL, as I had been saying to you in my past email, this calamitous hike by MERALCO were instigated by the LOPEZES, their greed overcomes the PATRIOTISM for this poor country,yet perhaps we cannot blame them,because ITS PAYBACK TIME,AND PREPARATION FOR THE 2016 ELECTION.Mr.Tiglao,no matter what you say and comments,THE RATE HIKE WILL PERSIST, some meager rate deduction will occur, but somehow and someway,MERALCO RATE HIKE STAYS,I CAN ASSURE YOU ON THAT, WHO ARE WE BLAMING? WE HAVE TO BLAME OURSELVES,WE ELECTED AN INCOMPETENT PRESIDENT THAT IS SUBSERVIENT TO THE ELITES OF THIS POOR COUNTRY.With this kind political sickness, WE WILL NEVER RECOVER,EVEN TO THE NEXT GENERATION.THATS THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH,MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON THE PHILIPPINES

  9. Jose A. Oliveros on

    To call the present PeNoy Administration a “student council government” is an insult to student councils all over the Philippines. Student councils are better run!

    • Who the freak cares about where he’s from and what colors he belongs to? Read the article again! It’s about Pnoy’s incompetence and lack of foresight that may very well bring our country to an unprecedented poverty level due to rate increases the Meralco wants to implement. Anong gagawin ng mga poor? Gagawa ng paraan siempre, Then they’re exposed to more dangers. Poor Philippines! If only Pnoy had the balls and the guts..

  10. Conspiracy is surreptitious schemes, designs, and plots devised by the yellow cabal in this particular instance. Petilla, Ducut, and and Aguillos, etc., what by way of background experience did they have to be appointed to such a major position in the energy sector of the economy? No wonder the high cost of electricity keep on driving way FDIs. We do not have a government, we have a cabal running and pulling the strings to keep the TRAPOs entrenched. Send them all to the guillotine.

  11. Birds of the same feather flock together. Psinsiyana we have to suffer all this – two and
    a half more years.

    Anybody home to correct all these -KKKK. . . . . . . . .KKKK !

  12. MERALCO’S INCOME FOR 2013 17B AND YET THEY STILL WANT AN INCREASE. IT’S NO LONGER GRID, THAT’S WHAT WE CALL GREED… MERALCO GREEDINESS AT IT’S BEST.

  13. This student council government is definitely bringing down our country to perdition. I don’t think they are stupid. they have brain enough to make sure that their KKKK people will get more money from all their business under this demonic president. This mad man in malacanang has no more sense of decency that corruption under his term has flourished like mushrooms in season. That corruption has been institutionalized in all branches of government. Illegal billions of bonuses were awarded to all his appointed officials. This last straw of abuses committed by aquino from the citizens is unforgivable because the high cost of electricity is intentionally and purposely intended to give back to his friends what they have contributed during the last presidential election.

  14. I have always held the conviction that this country can no longer tolerate this abnoy who is fraudulently elected and runs the country incompetently. This country will go to ruins. In fact this is already happening. High electricity cost plus inflation plus depreciation of the peso will no doubt arrest any investment initiatives and usher in more unemployment and more poverty.

    I think all these are programmed to happen by an insensitive uncaring government who wants the people to depend on its conditional cash transfers, notwithstanding its anomalous implementation.

    I think we should all focus on removing this incompetent pretender president in our midst.

    • I agree, BS Aquino should be remove from his post immediately to stop him from doing more harm to our country.

  15. Voice from the Wilderness on

    This country is now in a pitiful situation because many of the citizens seems to have lost their capacity to be angry even though they are very aware that their lives are being screwed by incompetent leadership and administration unlike what is happening now in Thailand where the situation is beginning to be in the boiling point and anytime it may explode. Perhaps the other thing that may have a bearing on this docile attitude of the citizenry is that they feel that there is no visible and capable leader in the horizon that can take over if ever they will decide to kick out the present incompetent president in malacanang. This is now the big dilemma in this country…..