MORE Power at less cost

By Herbert Vego

AT this time when most distribution utilities charge electricity consumers ₱14 per kilowatt-hour, MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) will be billing Iloilo City residents only ₱8.7749/kWh within the billing period of June 18 to July 12, 2024.

It’s a big fall from the previous rate of ₱11.32/kWh.

Contrary to the previous announcement, it’s no longer necessary for consumers to apply for deferment. It’s automatic, assured Niel Parcon, the company’s vice president VP for corporate energy sourcing and regulatory affairs.

It’s truly a big relief for everyone who has consumed higher electrical load due to the heat index in the summer months.

The reduction translates to a saving of around P510 for households consuming 200 kWh a month.

The lower rates stem from the deferment of outright implementation of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) generation charge.

WESM, by the way, refers to the venue for trading non-contracted electricity as a commodity in the Philippines.

Without that deferment, the residential rate would immediately increase by ₱2.5514/kWh.

Naturally, moderate users will also be saved from the impact of higher generation cost triggered by higher demand.

Deferment means paying the generation portion of this month’s bill in four installments, to be applied now and the next three months.

The deferment is in compliance with an order from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which has been besieged with complaints against unregulated pricing by the power plants.

No matter how staggered, however, deferment does nothing but simply delays full payment.

You readers of the Daily Guardian will recall that on May 1, 2024, this columnist reminded the ERC about the unusual profiteering by the power generators or power plants.

I cited the case of Aboitiz Power Corp., the country’s leading power producer, which, according to its chief financial officer, Jose Emmanuel U. Hilado, bagged a net income of ₱17.3 billion in 2023, a 28 percent increase from ₱13.5 billion in 2022.

And yet we want foreign investors to do business in the Philippines?

Sus Ginoo, sa presyo sang kuryente pa lang, makuryente na sila.



THE latest action of China Coast Guard – hurting Philippine Navy personnel on a failed mission to bring food and fresh water to troops in the ship Sierra Madre stuck in Ayungin Shoal at the West Philippine Sea on June 17 – was so bad it’s time to invoke our 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States.

According to the initial sketchy report, the Chinese stopped a rigid-hulled rubber boat escorting the supply ship, boarded it, mauled the crew, confiscated their guns and punctured the vessel.

One of our soldiers lost a finger.

Of course, it may rightly be said that our boatmen had been careless in sailing out without ship escort. They must have imbibed the idea that they were perfectly safe from a cat-and-mouse situation.

Take note that on June 16, just day before the latest Ayungin incident, a US Navy destroyer sailed jointly with the Canadian, Japanese, and Philippine warships in the West Philippine Sea.

Who knows? The “careless” use of rubber boats could have been experimental to test American reaction under the Mutual Defense Treaty.

Invoking the MDT does not imply declaring war against China. It’s to prevent a repeat of similar bullying moves done by the China Coast Guard within our exclusive economic zone at the West Philippine Sea.

The treaty takes us back to the date August 30, 1951 when statesmen representing the Philippines and the United States signed a pact binding both nations to defend each other in case of attacks by hostile nations.

Hence, the mere presence of the US Navy side by side out supply boats would keep the Chinese bullies away.

When push turns to shove, the US Navy destroyers may intensify its presence near China’s man-made islands in the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

However, both the US and the Philippine government have to agree on any action to be taken once the treaty is invoked.