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Consumers should not pay unused electricity contracted by DUs amid Luzon lockdown

Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and power generating companies (GenCos) to relax the provisions in the Power Supply Agreements (PSAs) so that consumers won’t have to pay for unused electricity since there has been a decrease in electricity demand during this time of enhanced community quarantine.


MANILA, Philippines – As seen through a window, a large part of Pandacan district is blanketed in darkness as the annual Earth Hour kicks off around the world amid the crippling issue of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Win Gatchalian, on the other hand is appealing to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and power generating companies (GenCos) to spare consumers from paying unused electricity contracted by Distribution Utilities (DUs), like Meralco and electric cooperatives, amid the Luzon lockdown. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Gatchalian expresses fears Filipino households will have to pay for the power they have not consumed if the ERC and GenCos will not relax the provisions in the PSAs requiring Distribution Utilities (DUs) to purchase a minimum amount of electricity.

The lawmaker pointed out that (DUs) are left without an option but to pay for the same amount of electricity from GenCos even when the demand is low. Since there’s a pass on provision on PSAs, Gatchalian warned that consumers will end up being burdened for paying the electricity that will not be consumed.

Gatchalian said the demand for electricity plunged by 30%. And while there has been an increase in residential demand, most of the economic activities have slowed down as well as other activities in the energy sector.

For humanitarian reasons, Gatchalian appeals to both the ERC and GenCos to spare consumers from this kind of burden at this critical time.

“Naging malaking dagok na nga sa ating kalusugan ang nakamamatay na COVID-19. Bugbog na bugbog na ang mga tao sa paghahanap ng makakain araw-araw. Ipapasan pa ba natin ang pagbayad sa kuryenteng hindi naman nila ginamit,” the Senate Committee on Energy chairman said.

“During this time of crisis, we need to think of solutions to ease the burden of the people. That’s why we urge the ERC and GenCos to arrive at an equitable solution for the benefit of all Filipinos,” he added.