President Aquino underscores need to lower electricity rates

December 11, 2012 11:24 pm 

MANILA, Dec. 11 — President Benigno S. Aquino III underscored the importance of lowering the country’s electricity rates in order to ease the burden of having to pay the high cost of the service and ultimately give our less fortunate countrymen a chance to “lift themselves out of poverty.”

In his speech at the International Conference on Retail Markets (ICORM) held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday, the President cited the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) as a long term solution to this predicament hounding the Filipino citizenry.

He said the WESM as well as other government-led programs such as extending lifeline electricity rates which pegs lower charges to customers who consume less than 100-kilowatt hour per month are programs “we need to undertake…to make our people less vulnerable to sudden increases in the prices of commodities.”

“So that, ultimately, they are given a legitimate chance to lift themselves out of poverty. Over the long term, we also want to promote a system that will naturally keep power prices reasonable if not preferably low, and this is the rationale for the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market,” the President said.

“WESM will not magically lower electricity prices overnight, but it is a sensible long term solution. It encourages competition and saves consumers from being at the mercy of a single company with monopoly power; it allows them to select the retailers who offer the most benefit,” he added.

“While it won’t happen immediately, an efficient Wholesale Electricity Spot Market will increase competitive pressures, and will play a large part in lowering the cost of electricity in this country and increasing our competitiveness. As long as we are able to ensure a level playing field, then the market will do its work. The upcoming implementation of the retail competition and open access can only help. We can look forward to more players in the market, which will move us even closer to more reliable and fairly priced energy for both people and businesses,” the President said.

The International Conference on Retail Markets 2012 is a conference, organized by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation – the governance arm of the WESM, that focuses on the critical convergence of wholesale and retail markets. With the imminent opening of the retail electricity market in the Philippines, the challenge will come from the degree of preparedness and responsiveness of the government, regulators, consumers, suppliers, and default service providers in order to achieve a certain level of success in an ever growing and liberalizing electric power industry. (PNA)

LAM/PCOO/SSC

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