March 12, 2014
How can the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) seriously correct the abuses that happened in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) when members of the PEMC board represent the very companies that benefited from the manipulation of the market?
This is the question that we in People Opposed to Unwarranted Electricity Rates (POWER) would like to raise in the wake of the ERC’s ruling that orders PEMC to recalculate the incredible 70% overprice that happened in the WESM last November and December.
The PEMC website reveals that at least seven of the 14-member PEMC board represent companies that most likely benefited from the manipulation of the WESM last year. These are: Nixon G. Hao, Vice President for Energy Management of Meralco; Luis Miguel Aboitiz, Senior Vice President for Power Marketing and Sales of SN Aboitiz Power; Emmanuel Ledesma, Jr., President of PSALM; Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita, President of NPC; Peter G. Nepomuceno, President of Angeles Power, Inc.; Victor Emmanuel B. Santos, Senior Vice President Legal, Regulatory and Power Marketing of First Gen Corporation; and Antonio Agbayani Ver, President of H&WB Corporation.
Remember that it was Meralco in collusion with the Aboitiz-owned Therma Mobile company that caused WESM prices to spike to an absurd clearing price of P62/KwH during the said period, causing the entire WESM price to soar and giving windfall profits to all players.
Our fear is that PEMC will come up with a token reduction of the rates and then whitewash the incident, saying that no collusion or manipulation took place and that no one took advantage of the system.
Perhaps it is also time to look into the lifestyles and perks of the PEMC board and whether they themselves are unduly benefitting from the system that produces the most expensive power rates in the Asia Pacific region.
The artificial spike in WESM price was the basis for Meralco’s unprecedented P4.15/KwH power rate hike last December, the highest in history, that was ordered suspended by the Supreme Court. Another hike of P5.33/KwH is being asked by Meralco and pending in the ERC.#