• By The Financial District

AGHAM Partylist Worried Over Increasing Fuel Prices

The Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) has urged the government to come up with ways to soften the blow on the impact of rising fuel prices that hurt Filipino consumers.

Photo Insert: Shell is one of the major players in the local fuel industry.

“Fuel prices are continuously increasing and consumers are left with no choice but to pay more for oil. It’s not just the motorists who are bearing the brunt, but also other industries whose cost of production and operations are affected by higher oil prices,” said AGHAM President Angelo Palmones.

Data from the Department of Energy (DOE) as of February 1 showed that since the start of the year, gasoline prices have increased by P5.70 per liter, diesel by P7.95 per liter, and kerosene by P7.20 per liter.

Prevailing retail pump prices in National Capital Region go as high as P77 per liter for gasoline, P63.60 for diesel, and P66.59 per liter for kerosene, according to the DOE’s latest monitoring. Yet to be factored in is the sixth consecutive increase this year, which ranges from P1 to P1.20 per liter, that was announced by oil companies this week.

As an oil-importing country, the Philippines is exposed to the volatility of international oil prices, which have been rising due to disparity in supply and demand, and the geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

AGHAM, meanwhile, lauded Meralco on its recent announcement that its electricity rate this month will go down by almost 12 centavos, equivalent to about P24 pesos in the total bill of a typical customer with a 200-kilowatt-hour monthly consumption.

“Usually, when oil prices go up, cost of electricity also increases since power plants that supply to Meralco are also affected by movements of global fuel prices,” said Palmones.

Business: Business men in suite and tie in a work meeting in the office located in the financial district.

“A look at the breakdown of Meralco’s rate reduction this month showed that its generation charge actually went down by 23 centavos, owing to its strategic sourcing from suppliers that somehow protected its customers from price spikes,” said Palmones.

Even the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) late last month announced that forced plant outages of major power plants led to increases in prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), where electricity distributors like Meralco buy a portion of their power requirements.

Market & economy: Market economist in suit and tie reading reports and analysing charts in the office located in the financial district.

In its recent announcement, Meralco said less purchases from the WESM partly contributed to the decrease in electricity rates in February. The distributor said it sourced only 0.4% from the spot market, where prices had been high due to the tight supply condition.

“The second consecutive month of rate reductions is a very welcome relief for us, consumers, who are usually helpless when it comes to increases in the prices of goods and services,” said Palmones.

Last month, Meralco implemented a rate reduction of around 7.5 centavos per kWh.

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