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Surge in power spot prices raises concern

Consumer group CitizenWatch warned of an impending hike in power rates due to what it described as the “unusual” movement of electricity prices in the energy spot market in the third week of May.

The uptick is “irregular and highly suspicious,” said group co-convenor Tim Abejo, since the Malampaya shutdown has passed and power generation rates are expected to stabilize.

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Data from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) show that the maximum daily market clearing prices on May 10 surged by more than 400 percent.

This, even though daily peak demand in Luzon was much lower than the 9,000 megawatts expected by the Department of Energy (DOE), CitizenWatch said.

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“Consumers cannot understand why WESM prices can go up all of a sudden when demand has not picked up,” Abejo said.

Abejo noted that although all WESM transactions were available online, there was still room for a more real-time and transparent relaying of information to the public.

The Philippine Electric Market Corporation (PEMC) should hold unscrupulous power generators liable, he said. There may be players monopolizing the market.

“We have succeeded in lowering prices because of our Power Plant Watch, but our vigilance should not stop,” Abejo said.

CitizenWatch is also looking into the possibility of having a price watch advocacy that will monitor the prices in the WESM.

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TAGS: Business, Citizenwatch, Power rates, spot prices, unusual movement, Wesm
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