infrastructure-oriented thinktank called on President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the franchise bill of Solar Para Sa Bayan (SPSB) amid concerns that anti-competitive practices may be undertaken in already unserved and underserved areas in the country.
“Mr. President, the power sector has unconditionally registered its overwhelming objection to the SPSB franchise bill. At a time when the policy direction of all industries is to foster greater competition to reflect better services and better prices, enacting into law the SPSB super franchise is a clear step towards the opposite direction.”
This was the statement of Terry Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor and former member of the House committee on energy.
Ridon also expressed doubts on whether SPSB will be able to deliver on its promise of competitive, if not lower power rates within its franchise areas.
“One of SPSB’s main oppositors, Philreca, which is an association of electric cooperatives, alleged in a report that SPSB’s current running power rate in Palauan, Occidental Mindoro stands at P10.97 per kWh, based on an average of twenty households visited by the group.”
Ridon said that the main promise of SPSB is that it can fully compete with the prices of existing electricity providers in its proposed franchise areas.
“With reports such as these, we have serious doubts on whether SPSB can truly compete with existing electricity providers, or whether its main interest is simply ease out competitors already in place in these areas.”
Dependence on other distribution utilities
Ridon also expressed alarm on the allegation in the Philreca report that SPSB is dependent on the distribution system of the existing electricity provider in the area.
Ridon also called out SPSB’s sister company, Solar Philippines for issuing misleading public statements attributing lower Meralco rates to its solar operations. (PR)