Rotating brown outs, a ploy to jack up power rates – Rep. Casiño

PARTY list Rep. Teddy Casiño said that the threat of rotating brown outs may just be a ploy to yet again jack up power rates.

“We should be wary that the so-called threat might be deliberately aimed at manipulating Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) prices. We are calling on regulators, especially the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), to keep their eyes wide open and put their ears on the ground and watch out for signs of price manipulation,” said the progressive lawmaker.

“It is suspicious that the power producers  are gearing for the simultaneous maintenance of power plants. Repairs and maintenance of power plants are scheduled events. There is no reason bakit kailangang magsabay sabay. Wala namang kalamidad o aksidente. The effect of this is to constrict supply and therefore jack up prices in the spot market,” he said.

Casiño said even a 1 centavo hike in WESM prices may mean millions in unjust profits.  The threat of brownouts might just be a way of conditioning the public mind to accept another round of price hikes,” Casiño stressed.

He added that this is compounded by the fact that just this month consumers are faced with a 54 centavo jump in Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) generation charge.

“Based on the data from the National Grid Corp. of Philippines, (NGCP)  the Luzon grid’s power supply reserves remained “thin” at only 101 megawatts, putting the island on yellow alert. This runs contrary to previous pronouncements that the Luzon grid enjoys a healthy buffer of about 1,700 MW to as much as 2,000 MW on any given day. Also upon consultation with experts on the power situation there is definitely no power shortage because the Luzon grid has a surplus,” he added.

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