Watchdog: TRO to benefit consumers

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POWER sector watchdog Bantay Kuryente lauded the Supreme Court (SC) for issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the Department of Energy (DOE) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) from implementing new policies regarding the retail competition and open access.

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The group said the petition benefits not only the petitioners, commercial and industrial establishments, but ultimately and more importantly, consumers in general.

“If implemented, the policy will only result in higher electricity prices for consumers and businesses alike,” Pet Climaco, the group’s secretary general, said in an earlier statement.

Bantay Kuryente said the implementation of mandatory contestability effectively forces consumers to abandon existing arrangements and enter into unfavorable contracts just to meet the unrealistic deadline of February 26, 2017 set by the ERC.

The petition that led to the issuance of the TRO was filed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ateneo De Manila University, San Beda College-Alabang and Riverbanks Development Corporation.
“This shows that there is multi-sectoral opposition to the ERC’s new policy. Faced with unrealistic and anti-consumer policies, business groups, academic institutions, consumers and civil society must continue to rally together and have their voices heard,” Climaco said.

“Reforms in the industry should be undertaken to afford electricity end users the opportunity to choose their own suppliers of electricity. The consumers, as the central parties-in-interest, should be made aware if there really is no basis for the mandatory migration being ordered by the DOE and the ERC through the questioned issuances,” Climaco added.

The group said it will remain vigilant and steadfast in its advocacy to protect consumers.

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