Labor, consumer groups oppose prepaid electricity scheme

by Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2013 03:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2013 11:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Labor and consumer groups joined forces to oppose the prepaid electricity scheme and the impending power rate hike.

The consortium, "Pipol Power: The Power Consumers Network," said the prepaid electricity scheme is anti-poor, anti-worker and anti-consumer. The group is composed of labor organizations and consumer groups.

They claimed it deprives people from access to electricity which is a basic right.

At present, a customer is given a certain period to settle his electricity bill before electricity is cut off from his home.

But the groups say with the prepaid scheme, electricity is cut off automatically when "load" runs out.

They say the prepaid scheme also gives power companies undue advantage. Aside from using less personnel, the groups say there is less transparency in billing under the prepaid scheme.

The group pointed out the government should focus more on finding ways to bring down power costs in the country. Another rate hike is expected to be implemented soon.