Philippine power privatization 8 years hence

Eight years after the enactment of EPIRA, there has been no effective solution to the problems, old and new, that beset the country’s power industry – e.g., electricity prices continue to soar making the cost of electricity among the highest in Asia; new middlemen, e.g, in guise of IPPAs, will further jack-up prices; NPC/government continues to provide guarantees to new players, e.g., guaranteed markets, fuel subsidies; crippling debt burden; a new era of ‘cross-ownership’ risking ‘sweetheart deals’ among distribution utilities and sister IPPs; ‘uncompetitive market behavior’ in the new electricity market; dismantling of NPC (now down to 20% of the national power grid); increasing exposure of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese state-run utilities in the strategic power sector; shift of power infrastructure financing from public to private sector; violations of trade union rights and unresolved labor issues and that threaten industrial peace and a stable electricity supply. Fundamentally, EPIRA simply transfers the monopoly privileges from the state to ‘unbundled’ interests, both domestic and foreign and not necessarily private, and thus allowing the ‘gains’ to be kept as excess (private) profits and a large percentage plowed overseas, instead of being shared with the consumers and taxpayers through lower electricity rates and a reduced debt burden.

FROM:
The Napocor Privatization: Eight Years after EPIRA
By Violeta Corral, PSIRU, July 2009

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