CONSUMER-advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) has called on the energy department to compel oil firms to unbundle retail prices of petroleum products and publish the regular maintenance schedule of power plants.
This is meant to enable consumers to truly enjoy their right to information, and thereby provide them access to fair and reasonable pricing of petroleum products and electricity, LKI President and former Trade Undersecretary lawyer Vic A. Dimagiba.
In a letter dated April 16 to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, LKI said that even under full deregulation, the energy secretary is authorized to ensure fair pricing of the petroleum products for the benefit and information of the consumers.
Dimagiba, likewise, cited the Department of Energy (DOE) “police powers” by citing sections 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19 and Republic Act 8479.
LKI firmly believes that requiring the unbundling will ensure a transparent pricing which benefits the consumers.
“The DOE will note that oil companies and the new players have practically uniform prices for diesel. This situation does not appear tenable since oil companies and new players procure their products differently,” Dimagiba said.
He added: “We believe that the DOE secretary is authorized to issue the circular mandating the unbundling of retail prices of petroleum products preferably within the first quarter of the year.”
On power rates, LKI wants the DOE to publish the regular maintenance of the power plants and energy suppliers over the 12 months and inform the consumers of the reasons for any unexpected shutdown, particularly during peak hours.
Dimagiba observed that “the April 12 shutdown and yellow alert from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. spiked the wholesale market from P15.00 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to P30.00/kWh during the trading period.”