Amending EPIRA won't solve power woes, biz groups say


Posted at May 27 2014 07:04 PM | Updated as of May 28 2014 03:04 AM

MANILA – Business groups in the country said amending the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) will not solve the problems in the power industry.

In a joint statement released Tuesday, the businessmen said sending the EPIRA to Congress for review may introduce uncertainties that will lead “to a potentially chaotic system, and worryingly put our future needs at risk at a time when our supply of power is marginal.”

“International and local investors and financial institutions won’t invest in an industry where the rules are not known and stable. The national government should announce now that EPIRA will not be amended, as amendment will not solve the present problem, and the government should increase dialogue with industry participants to reduce key uncertainties or changing material rules midstream,” the groups said.

The groups are composed of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc. (JCCIPI), Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (KCCP), and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP).

They urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to address issues on limits to open access; fiscal independence of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC); and review of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) price cap and rules.

They also want the DOE to discuss plans for the Malaya plant and the privatization of all plants.

“We urge the national government to declare power plants as critical infrastructures or projects eligible for registration with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to streamline acquisition of permits and approvals from all local and national government agencies,” the groups said.

The businessmen added that the DOE should hold a meeting to review the performance of electric cooperatives and how to improve it; the Transmission Development Plan; and the taxes on the industry to consolidate them into a simpler system that may lead to lower prices.