Group promotes consumer involvement in energy industry

A newly launched organization advocates transparency among all stakeholders involved in the electricity industry, citing lack of consumer participation as one of the factors driving energy crisis. 

“The Philippines remains to charge one of the highest electricity costs in Asia. This and the continued poor services especially during the current pandemic are affecting the ordinary Filipino’s capacity to cope. Many are also losing their jobs,” said Nic Satur, national coordinator for Kuryente.Org, a consumer group launched on Feb. 17.

Nic Satur, national coordinator for consumer welfare group Kuryente.Org.
A research study made by Kuryente.Org, entitled “Electrifying a Nation: The Philippine Energy Sector in Focus,” revealed over-billing through the averaging scheme was committed against consumers during the peak of the community quarantine in 2020. It said, averaging computation was based on higher generation rates and not the lower rates during the lockdown period.

Satur noted, “Our study shows that, historically, only a few rich families are controlling the energy industry, and we would like to change that by strengthening consumer empowerment and representation.”

As a consumer welfare organization, Kuryente.Org is calling on the government to allow substantial consumer representation in the ERC as an ex-officio observer in the commission en banc; develop a comprehensive roadmap for migration from coal to cleaner, more efficient and much cheaper renewable energy sources; have a public review and accounting of universal charges, system loss, FIT-All charge, and other subsidies as pass-on charges to consumers; and implement an immediate lifting of the TRO on RCOA and gradual lowering of the threshold.

According to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, consumer protection is ensured and competitive operation of the electricity industry is enhanced through the Senate Bill No. 173 or the Energy Advocate Act.

“The rationale for the Energy Advocate Act is to give organizations a bigger voice in terms of rate setting and going into the approval of retail rates here in our country,” explained the senator. 

Topics: Kuryente.Org , , energy industry

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