FIT-All burden*

NO matter how we look at it, the Feed-In-Tariff Allowance (FIT-All) being charged to consumers’ electric bills is a heavy burden on families. This should be stopped.

Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) President Attorney Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba met with Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chair Agnes Devanadera last Monday and explained that FIT-All being collected from electric consumers nationwide is used to subsidize payments to select renewable energy (RE) developers.

Dimagiba also pointed out that the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) presented inconsistent capacities for some RE plants during the hearings for the 2018 FIT-All rate. The LKI group said these higher capacities may have been used by TransCo as the basis for payments to these RE plants. In plain and simple words, TransCo may have overpaid these FIT-Eligible RE plants and the computed FIT-All is higher than necessary.

LKI’s observation was confirmed when the ERC issued an order on June 11, 2018 where it determined that TransCo indeed overpaid certain FIT-eligible generators by PhP36.5 million. It would simply be unfair to pass on this over payment to consumers in their electric bills.

The people found it alarming that FIT-All has increased more than sixfold from 4-c/kWh in 2015 to 25-c/kWh starting June 2018. To top it off, there are even pending petitions to further increase this to as much as 29-c/kWh.

Dimagiba said that FIT-All is also an inflation issue and thus a major concern for consumers. Meralco reported that 2018 power prices have been lower than those in 2012 with only the universal charge and FIT-All showing increases. The ERC chair could help temper inflation, rectify and undo mistakes of the government in the past if she would just consider FIT-All as a burden on consumers.

LKI stated that a simulation based on the data provided by TransCo in its application showed that the effect of escalation was significant and the additional FIT payments would continue to increase until the 20th year since the FIT payments are guaranteed for 20 years. This could be likened to a virus that torments poor Juan dela Cruz until he could no longer endure the pain.

Right now, people are slowly being devastated by the heavy burden of FIT-All, TRAIN law, and inflation which caused prices of food, commodities, and almost everything to skyrocket, higher than they had in the past years.

If there are government officials who can lessen the burden and make life a little easier for the people, let them make a move now when their help is truly needed to alleviate the public’s suffering.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View.


*The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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Robert Roque Jr.
Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin's tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, At age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, and for this site, Beyond Deadlines. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012.

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