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Bacolod City, PhilippinesSaturday, January 25, 2014
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Palace vows action
vs. unjust rates

As the probe on alleged collusion among power generators continues, Malacañang yesterday vowed to ensure that the burden of “unjustifiable” power rate hikes will not be passed on to the people.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a briefing, said that the power rate hike remained one of the national government’s high priorities.

He reiterated President Benigno Aquino III’s statement that since the Malampaya shutdown (which led to the power rate hike) was not an unusual event , periodic maintenance should have been required.

 “Our impression is, there are people who really made a very significant profit from this situation under the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act),” he added.

Coloma then explained that given the situation, it was only necessary to look into possible collusion and abuse of market power; and if there were unjustifiable profits, the ERC can order a disgorgement of these profits.

He noted that in the matter of the power rate hike, if it was a commercial decision that was wrong, the national government never promised that they will be shielded from their wrong decisions.

“(The) government will ensure that unjustifiable price hikes are not passed on to and borne by the citizens,” Coloma said.

It is incumbent upon us that this situation that greatly affects the welfare of so many of our countrymen, we should know what actually transpired and what corrective actions should be undertaken to address that situation, he added.

He also assured anew that the President is determined to get to the bottom of what really happened and prevent it from happening again through different measures initiated by the national government.

Among these measures include probe by the Senate to confirm if there was indeed collusion, a parallel investigation by the Department of Justice and finally, a review for possible amendment of the EPIRA law.

He finally said that the national government will also ensure sufficient supply of electricity to households and industries at reasonable rates and foster a business climate that encourages continuing investments in energy development.*PNA

 

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