On the 15th anniversary of Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), scientists and engineers in AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People challenge President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to improve the country’s power industry by adopting the People’s Power Agenda.
“Fifteen years of EPIRA has resulted to no relief but unending shortage in supply, inefficiencies in power generation, transmission and distribution, high reliance on imported, dirty energy sources and technologies, and huge profits made by private industry players – all contributing to making the country’s electricity rates among the highest yet least dependable in the world,” said Feny Cosico, AGHAM Secretary General.
Between 2000 and 2015, MERALCO’s effective residential electricity prices per kilowatt hour rose by 77.20%, from an effective rate of P4.87 per kWh in 2000 to P8.63 in 2015.
“Despite these rate increases, people still suffer frequent blackouts, especially in Mindanao, due to unstable power supply,” said Cosico.
“In light of this crisis, we call on President-elect Duterte to heed the demands of the people and bring change into the power industry. He can start with adapting the steps in the People’s Power Agenda which are doable within the first months of his presidency,” said Cosico.
The group presented their 10-point Power Agenda, as follows:
1. Conduct a comprehensive review of EPIRA and immediately craft an alternative power policy.
2. Remove the VAT on power and roll back the cost of the electricity.
3. Cancel pass through costs such as the Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism, Automatic Adjustment of Generation Rates and System Loss Rates, Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment, System Loss Charge and Universal Charge to unburden the consumers from the unjust payment of electricity rates.
4. Ensure government control and national sovereignty over our power industry. Take over the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to recover the 40% stake of the State Grid of China controls in its operation and management.
5. Stop the privatization of the remaining power assets of the government such as Agus and Pulangi Hydroelectric Dams in Mindanao.
6. Stop the privatization of electric cooperatives.
7. Impose a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Maximize use of renewable energy sources. Scrap the FIT-Allowance charge collected from consumers.
8. Hold BS Aquino and Jericho Petilla accountable for the gross management of the power sector that entailed exorbitant power rate amidst massive blackouts in various parts of the country especially in Mindanao.
9. Institutionalize transfer of technology agreement with foreign investors in order to provide the necessary skills and knowledge to capacitate our local scientists and engineers in the management of the power industry.
10. Provide the necessary power infrastructures in rural communities especially in off-grid areas.###
For reference: Feny Cosico, Secretary-General, AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, (+632) 998.4226