Senator Nancy Binay has called on the Energy Regulatory Commission to employ all necessary measures to cushion the possible impact of the 20-day maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility on power rates.
Binay, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, made the call amid various procedures and programs to temper the projected P1.20 to P1.50 per kilowatt hour rate increase in consumers’ electric bills that were initiated by the Department of Energy and other stakeholders affected by the shutdown.
“I commend the initiative and foresight of all stakeholders in the power industry and their willingness to protect the interest of the ordinary Filipino consumer. But more than this, I suggest that we also have customers pay their power bills in tranches to lessen their household expenditures,” Binay said.
The Malampaya gas field maintenance shutdown is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 28 and will last until Feb. 16.
The possible rate increase is expected to be reflected in consumers’ bills in March.
“These procedures have been done before but now, we have to be more proactive to mitigate the power rate increase as soon as we can,” Binay said.
The Manila Electric Co. has already filed for a staggered payment application before the ERC.
Binay appealed to the ERC to review all active and current power supply agreements and ensure that no additional costs will be billed to consumers during the maintenance period.
“The ERC should also look for customer rebates that can be applied during the period of the rate increase to offset or, at least, minimize what consumers will spend for their electricity bills,” Binay said.