Energy Research Institution:
companies pushing high-cost, dirty electricity this summer
March 21, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
According to energy research institution Center for Energy, Ecology,
and Development (CEED), higher consumer demand for power during the
summer is now being utilized by Meralco and its affiliate coal
generation companies to push for the approval of their power supply
agreements sourced from coal (coal PSAs). Just three months ago, the
Ombudsman ordered the suspension of four Energy Regulatory
Commission (ERC) Commissioners over the anomalous coal PSAs.
CEED Executive Director
Gerry Arances called out energy giants Meralco and Redondo Peninsula
for bemoaning the delay in the approval of their coal PSAs but
overlooking the interests of consumers, who opposed the said
“Meralco and its affiliate
coal companies have pushed for the approval and operation of their
coal-fired power plants under the guise of protecting consumers from
power outages,” Arances noted.
“However, these coal PSAs
are being contested by the consumers themselves, with the support of
environment and grassroot organizations, for spelling out higher
electricity prices and a dirtier environment for the next twenty
years,” said Arances.
CEED Legal and Policy
Officer Atty. Avril De Torres also lamented the Temporary
Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals against the
Ombudsman’s suspension order, in order to prevent public service
“Public service disruption
should not be used as a justification to stay the Ombudsman’s
suspension order and to approve the anomalous coal PSAs. Our
remedies should be to immediately appoint acting commissioners, and
to prioritize the approval of cleaner and cheaper energy. This is
how we ensure that we are promoting public service and consumer
interest over the interests of coal companies,” said De Torres.
According to Arances, coal
spells out higher electricity prices since coal is already more
expensive than wind and solar energy. Under the seven coal PSAs, the
average rate of coal electricity is PHP 3.65/kWh, meanwhile wind and
solar are at a lower rate of P3.50/kWh and P2.99/kWh, respectively.
Arances stated that what
is also usually left out in Meralco and other coal giants’ pressure
for more coal is the global transition away from coal, which puts
facilities like coal-fired power plants at risk of becoming stranded
He cited a study conducted
by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA)
and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) which
showed that ‘stranded coal assets’ are a growing material risk that
is inevitable in the Philippines.
Arances said that
according to the IEEFA and ICSC study, trends in the coal-fired
electricity generation sector, such as the over-build of coal-fired
power plants, ‘may leave ratepayers at risk of having to pay
“If Meralco and its coal
affiliates have their way in the approval and operation of their
coal plants, Philippine electricity consumers are to be locked into
not only twenty more years of dirty and steadily increasing
electricity prices, but also into paying for stranded asset costs of
these obsolete coal plants,” Arances claimed.
“Necessarily, this will
also prevent consumers from accessing cleaner and cheaper
electricity from sources like renewable energy,” he concluded.