FEF bucks hike in renewable energy targets

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A group of prominent economists and sociopolitical analysts has “vehemently” opposed any increase in installation targets for renewable energy (RE), citing the need to protect consumers.

The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), in an Aug. 6 letter to Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, objected to any increase in the RE installation targets in a bid to increase the number of companies qualified to receive subsidy by way of a feed-in-tariff allowance (FIT-ALL).

“We believe that any increase in installation targets would further increase [the burden] on Filipino electricity consumers who must pay for the subsidy by way of the FIT-ALL,” FEF said. “Such increases must undergo extensive public hearings because these affect the rates that the public must pay.”

The group said it also believed that the allocation of the existing installation targets through auction was the “only fair way to enable Filipino consumers to get renewable energy at the least cost.”

FEF is chaired by former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo and the vice chair is former Finance Undersecretary Romeo Bernardo. Its president is Calixto Chikiamco, who signed the letter on behalf of the group. Economist Gerardo Sicat and former Prime Minister Cesar Virata sit as advisers to the group. The board of trustees of FEF include Ernest Leung, Thomas Allen, Art Corpus, Felipe Medalla, Vaughn Montes, Gary Olivar, Simon Paterno, Gloria Tan-Climaco and Francis Varela.

“We maintain, in fact, that the FIT-ALL is for all intents and purposes a tax on consumers. Increasing the installation targets is effectively increasing the tax burden of consumers without going through Congress and is patently unconstitutional,” the group said.

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