Electricity

Is it the end for EPIRA?

Published by rudy Date posted on February 24, 2014

Over the past two months or so, we have been hearing various stories, accusations and counter accusations from power industry participants on what or who really caused that atrocious hike in Meralco power rates. I don’t see closure coming around soon and that’s not good for the power industry.

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Businessmen push EPIRA changes

Published by rudy Date posted on February 24, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – Businessmen urged the Aquino administration to support proposed amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 such as improving the role of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

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Gov’t agencies’ negligence caused electricity price hike

Published by rudy Date posted on February 23, 2014

Government was caught napping. That is the emerging conclusion from parallel Senate and House inquiries into the record-high electricity price surge last November.

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Accountabilities, doable solutions

Published by rudy Date posted on February 19, 2014

(Last of three parts) The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) will probably be amended, but it is unlikely that the amendments will cure what ails the system. The interest groups are just too powerful. The law’s imperfections are not the only reason for the soaring power rates in the country.

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Epira an imperfect law imperfectly implemented

Published by rudy Date posted on February 18, 2014

(Second of three parts) To be fair, deregulating the power sector is a daunting task. The dynamics of the sector are complicated by our country’s political and moral landscape.

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Righting what’s wrong with the Epira

Published by rudy Date posted on February 17, 2014

(First of three parts) Everyone is washing his hands of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001, now that it has reared its ugly head.

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DOE probes power plants for price surge

Published by rudy Date posted on February 17, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) is investigating a number of power generators, including the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), for violating rules on trading and dispatch in the electricity spot market during the 30-day maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas platform, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said Saturday.

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Mounting violations

Published by rudy Date posted on February 16, 2014

The National Grip Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the private consortium that holds the franchise and is responsible for bringing the electricity produced by power plants to distribution utilities, has a lot of explaining to do.

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Yellow alert

Published by rudy Date posted on February 11, 2014

When the summer months kick in, the DOE will put the entire power sector on “yellow alert.” That sounds a little ominous. Yellow has become the color code for incompetence.

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MERALCO: Also good at digging holes

Published by rudy Date posted on January 25, 2014

IN a hearing held by the evidently very annoyed House Committee on Energy on Wednesday, Meralco admitted that they not only instructed their power supply partner, the Aboitiz-held Therma Mobile (TMO), to offer some of its electricity at the highest allowable rate of P62/kilowatt-hour on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), but that Meralco purchased…

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WESM: Myths and realities

Published by rudy Date posted on January 21, 2014

With the debate on whether the power generation rate increase — mistakenly referred to as “Meralco rate hike” — is justified or not, the role of WESM has been put under question. The Wholesale Electricity Spot Market was created under Sec. 30 of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001…

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No need for actual evidence to prove collusion between Meralco, generation firms

Published by rudy Date posted on January 21, 2014

CHIEF JUSTICE SERENO SAYS MANILA, Philippines—There is no need for actual evidence to show that there is collusion between the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and the generation companies that could have led to the spike in electricity rate.

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SC narrows Meralco debate to just 8 issues

Published by rudy Date posted on January 17, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has narrowed down to eight the issues that would be tackled in next week’s oral arguments regarding the power rate increase imposed by the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

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High Meralco rates due to ERC-approved ‘maximum average prices’

Published by rudy Date posted on January 15, 2014

‘It is not just the cost of power Meralco buys from generators that explain its high electricity prices. As significant has been Meralco’s “distribution charges,” which actually includes such a cost as that for your electric meter. These account for 30 percent of the bill for a middle class consumption of 450 kilowatt-hours in a…

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Bright spots in Phl energy

Published by rudy Date posted on January 14, 2014

Last week, we were warned to brace for another round of electricity price hikes as the Malampaya natural gas field has fallen short to fill requirements of power suppliers of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco). The first time Malampaya natural gas plant in Palawan underwent scheduled preventive maintenance shutdown from Nov. 11 to Dec. 10,…

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Special report: What’s wrong with EPIRA?

Published by rudy Date posted on January 14, 2014

(Conclusion) MANILA, Philippines – The outrage over rising electricity prices has prompted energy stakeholders to call for amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, a landmark law that promised reforms in the power sector.

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Gov’t not helpless on power rate

Published by rudy Date posted on January 6, 2014

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla says he is confident there will be no summer power blackouts. I can understand why Petilla must say that but I hope he is intelligent enough not to believe it. Given the uncertainty in the power industry today, the opposite has a greater chance of happening.

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Power plant operators say backup electricity will cost consumers more

Published by rudy Date posted on January 6, 2014

MANILA – Power plant operators bucked the government’s plan to secure backup electricity whenever their facility shuts down, saying this would jack up their costs. Luis Miguel O. Aboitiz, Philippine Independent Power Producers Association president, said the government’s proposal would require regulators to go through each power supply contract that plant operators signed with distribution…

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USAID study: Electricity ‘spot’ market a farce

Published by rudy Date posted on January 5, 2014

(First of two parts) The so-called Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM)—from which Meralco bought 9.5 percent of its power at an unbelievable P33/kwh price in November, resulting in a 20 percent to 25 percent spike in consumers’ electricity bills for December—is a farce.

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Independent power producers deny collusion in power plant shutdowns

Published by rudy Date posted on January 4, 2014

Industry group Philippine Independent Power Producers Association, Inc. has denied collusion in the shutdown of power plants that led to a power rate hike. “There are buyers and there are sellers, right? Obviously, the buyers benefited, the sellers lost out,” PIPPA president Luis Miguel Aboitiz said in a “24 Oras” report aired Friday evening.

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Gov’t conflicting roles as regulator and player

Published by rudy Date posted on January 2, 2014

CONFLICTING ROLES: How can Malacañang credibly oppose an electricity rate increase when the government itself is into power generation and distribution, and regularly slaps a 12-percent Value-Added Tax on sales? In the debate over the cost of electricity, Malacañang cannot pretend to be an objective referee with only public welfare guiding it.

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Spot market price cap ‘not the answer’

Published by rudy Date posted on December 30, 2013

Lowering the price cap for electricity traded on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) is “not the answer” to the sudden spike in power prices, but the Energy Regulatory Commission’s asserting its mandate to regulate electricity rates, according to petitioners against the P4.15 kilowatt-hour (kWh) increase in the Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) electricity rate.

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Power regulators blink

Published by rudy Date posted on December 29, 2013

Price ceiling on spot market cut by half Amid the growing public anger over the record rise in electricity rates, government regulators on Saturday decided to set a lower price cap for electricity being traded on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) while authorities are studying how to prevent power rates increases in the future.

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Above-target economic growth giving DOE’s Petilla

Published by rudy Date posted on September 8, 2013

ENERGY Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla sees a downside in the 7.5-percent economic expansion in the second quarter of the year. With the economy growing above forecasts, Petilla said the pipelined power plants may not be able to meet the vastly increasing energy needs in the near future, particularly in Luzon.

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The future of electric energy

Published by rudy Date posted on August 15, 2013

The electrical grid is notoriously slow to change. Since the days when Thomas Edison debated the merits of A/C versus D/C power transmission, the biggest debates in electrical generation have been about whether to use natural gas or coal for power. But that’s all changing as the cost of traditional energy sources rises, and that…

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Energy woes get attention

Published by rudy Date posted on August 12, 2013

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla has warned that the Luzon grid would require 600-700 megawatts of additional capacity each year in the next three years. If we don’t get the private sector to put up those plants, we are in serious trouble. Only the private sector can invest in power generation plants under EPIRA.

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Energy chief warns of tight power supply

Published by rudy Date posted on August 5, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – The country will experience tightness in power supply if the 600-megawatt coal-fired plant of RP Energy does not come in by 2015 or early 2016, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said yesterday.

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Special report: In the dark on the Mindanao power crisis

Published by rudy Date posted on May 21, 2013

(Last of two parts) MANILA, Philippines – There’s a wide-array of reasons for the Mindanao crisis. As expected, President Benigno Aquino blames his predecessor for the problem.

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Special report: In the dark on the Mindanao power crisis (First of two parts)

Published by rudy Date posted on May 20, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said he is losing his hair because of the Mindanao crisis. As he said this, in a recent meeting with Mindanao-based electric cooperatives, Petilla drew laughter from the crowd.

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Power failure hits Metro Manila, nearby provinces as 6 power plants shut down

Published by rudy Date posted on May 8, 2013

UPDATE 11 – 10:47 p.m.) A power failure hit Metro Manila and a wide swathe of Luzon today as six power plants shut down, according to government and the country’s privately-run transmission monopoly.

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