Green energy groups call out Meralco for ‘sneaky rat’ tactics in coal power

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MANILA — A day before Chinese New Year, a group of power consumers and clean energy advocates protested Meralco’s continued intransigence in sneaking in coal into its new power supply agreements.

“The Power for People Coalition (P4P) raised the alarm against Meralco’s dirty, crafty coal tricks following the distribution utility’s pursuance of three new coal contracts in December last year, and the dilly-dallying of the finalization of its Terms of Reference (TOR) for a separate 1,200 MW power supply requirement,” according to the group in their statement released over the weekend.

P4P said the original TOR was opposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) and green groups, including P4P, for being crafted to favor the 1,200 MW proposed coal-fired power plant of Atimonan 1 Energy (A1E) in Quezon.

They claimed, with this and the failure of the first Competitive Selection Process (CSP) for the said capacity, Meralco published a revised TOR around Christmastime.

On January 6, the company announced that it will republish said TOR.

“Meralco has already been caught trying to force feed 1,200 MW of coal power on Filipino consumers despite numerous studies that have proven that this fuel is expensive, harmful to the environment, and unreliable. Even if it had seemed to relent, it is acting like a rat faced with a trap, biding its time until we have been lulled into complacency before attacking again,” said P4P Convenor Gerry Arances.

He said P4P’s protest action followed the Year of the Rat theme of the Chinese lunar calendar.

“Jose Ronald Valles, first vice president and head of regulatory management of Meralco, said that the new bidding process will be ‘pro-consumer, transparent and will result in least cost,’ but they already failed the transparency part of their pledge. How can we then trust the pro-consumer and least cost part?,” added Arances, who is also the Executive Director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED). (STACY ANG/IA/Currentph.com)

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