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Meralco energy tips to beat power hike

  • Written by Dennis F. Fetalino
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 281

It is not true that corporations are  heartless  entities which only operate for their interests
and those of their stockholders. 

In fact companies can be capable of  public empathy, if not general benevolence. 

Acts of corporate kindness are now coursed through Corporate Social Responsibility
programs such as scholarships, supplemental feeding of schoolchildren, medical missions housing,
and livelihood assistance for depressed communities and victims of natural calamities and armed
conflict.
    
Sometimes such expressions of good corporate citizenship are seen in simple but concrete
ways that directly and immediately impact on the daily lives  of the consuming public.
    
Take the initiative of the Manila Electric Co., the main power distributor.
    
Apparently mindful that its electricity rates are one of the highest in Asia  but is still
pushing through with  rate hikes  for the March and April billing periods, Meralco has very
generously offered helpful power consumption tips to make the new imposition bearable for its
millions of subscribers.
    
Meralco announced the additional 0.85 per kWh in power rate this March and the additional
0.12 per kWh in April.
    
By offering the power-saving tips, Meralco, the sweetest smelling-power utility, hopes to
make the price jolt more pleasant for consumers.
    
And so its suggests the following to make the season’s penitence just a little bit
pleasurable.

It’s safe to say that summer is here.
    
While there has yet to be an official announcement, our suffering bodies under the
scorching hot sun are indication enough that we will definitely be using our air-conditioners and
electric fans more often.
    
And if you have kids at home during the break, since there are no more classes, they will
also be using those cooling appliances on a more regular basis, and maybe even opening the
refrigerator every now and then come desperate times to catch some cool air.
    
Yes, temperatures are really at a high, especially with news coming out that this past
February’s 26.8 degrees Celsius was already higher than the February temperatures of the past two
years, which is stunning considering that two years ago was actually the arrival of El Niño.
    
Now, aside from having to wash more clothes, and other than having to struggle just to
move off your chair, the summer heat brings along many other problems.
    
You may notice that during the summer months in the previous years, your electricity bill
usually goes up.
    
This is because of the higher demand and consumption that households experience. When
summer is upon us, houses tend to use more electricity, to power air-conditioners, electric fans, and refrigerators for cooling, plus there is more use of entertainment appliances as well during
the break, like say… televisions or video game consoles, perhaps.
    
This higher demand and consumption can lead to higher bills.
    
It is a good thing though that although this March, electricity rates were supposed to
increase by 97 centavos per kilowatthour (kWh), Meralco decided not to charge customers the full
increase in order to cushion the impact of the rate adjustment on consumers and relieve us of the
additional burden this may have brought about.

Instead, only an 85 centavo per kWh increase was applied to our electricity rates in the
Meralco franchise area, with the remaining amount to be deferred.
    
It is encouraging to know that the country’s largest distribution utility is still
looking out for the welfare of its consumers.
    
Now we as consumers just have to worry about the rising temperatures and the extra usage
that usually entails.
    
But don’t worry, because not all hope is lost. Since summer happens every year, that just
means we can come prepared every time that it hits.
    
It is our responsibility to prepare ourselves and adjust our lifestyles so as to be more
efficient, and just plain smarter when it comes to our energy consumption.
    
It’s a good thing we have distribution utilities like Meralco who go out of their way to
communicate to their consumers how to make energy efficiency a way of life.
    
In their Meralco Advisories on TV and on radio, and even in their regular press releases
to the public, Meralco always seeks to provide energy efficiency tips for customers.
    
In their latest press conference, as summer was mentioned to be well at hand, Meralco
once again encouraged its customers to continue practicing energy efficiency initiatives to help
manage their electricity consumption.
    
These include everyday household tips that may help save energy, such as unplugging
appliances when not in use to avoid “phantom load”, using the aircon at mid-setting or at 25
degrees Celsius for maximum efficiency, using a power board or strip which can supply power to
several appliances at once and allows a user to conveniently turn them off simultaneously with
just one switch, and maximizing natural light during daytime and keeping appliances well
maintained to ensure optimal performance.
    
But I remain positive in my outlook, and believe that our country’s government, regulators
and private sector will be able to look out for the common Filipino and ensure that energy
projects of national significance see the light of day.

***

ERRATUM
    
PedXing would like to correct the latter portion of yesterday's column to read as follows:
    
The news makes this writer wonder: Did Meralco and ERC officials ever take time just to
check updates on the tumbling price of solar power?
    
The cost of solar power is retreating in other parts of the world. In fact, even Leandro
Leviste, the majority owner of SPTC [Solar Philippines Tanauan Corporation], had been all over the
news with his claim that he could sell electricity from his solar-plus-battery power plants at
only P2.99/kwh or way below the average generation cost of Meralco, which stood at P4.92/kwh last
February.  So the P2.99 would have been welcome news.
    
But at P5.39, the Meralco-SPTC deal will not bring down but will instead induce a sharp
hike in electricity rates. In the next 20 years, this ERC-approved PSA [power supply agreements]
will force us Meralco customers to pay over P15 billion in additional electricity charges to the
distribution utility..
    
The Gang of Four commissioners at the ERC {Energy Regulatory Commission] had earlier been
distorting the Commission’s policy on competitive bidding by restating the start of CSP
[competitive selection process]. Under CSP, these Meralco PSAs should not have been negotiated but
bid out.
    
Instead of forcing Meralco to conduct a CSP, however, the four ERC commissioners
practically ordered the suspension of CSP for several months so Meralco can negotiate the PSAs
with itself. Then when pro-consumer groups discovered these indecent deals, the ERC simply
dismissed the motion for intervention of these pro-consumer groups.
    
The ERC en banc’s action on the Meralco-SPTC deal is very ominous, but it may be the start
of more sinister things to come.
    
If these ERC commissioners never got the Ombudsman’s message for the ERC to uphold its
mandate to “protect the interest of consumers,” they might gather the nerve to take up next the
approval of the Meralco “sweetheart deals” despite their onerous terms.
    
What an epic fail!    Behold God’s glory
    
And seek His mercy
    
Pause and pray people.