Home Energy conservation Relief needed now | Opinion of the applicant

Relief needed now | Opinion of the applicant

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President Duterte last week convened military and other senior officials for a special meeting on the potential impact of the Ukraine-Russia conflict on the country, particularly on fuel prices. But instead of immediate solutions to stop the sustained increase in pump prices of petroleum products, what has emerged are action plans that will take years to implement, with the exception of the Pantawid Pasada program 2.5 billion pesos and a fuel discount of 500 million pesos for farmers. and Department of Energy (DOE) recommended anglers.

The culmination of what acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles announced was Malacañang’s call for Congress to reconsider certain aspects of the Petroleum Deregulation Act, “particularly the provisions on the unbundling of prices and the inclusion of minimum inventory requirements in the law, as well as the powers of intervention of the government to intervene in the event of peaks and/or prolonged increases in the prices of petroleum products.

Pandemic-weary consumers have been grappling with rising oil prices since the start of the year. Threats of a continued spike persist as analysts warned of oil supply disruptions following attacks by Russia, a major oil exporter, on Ukraine. This week, local pump prices are expected to increase by P3 per litre. This will be the 10th consecutive week of rising prices. Since January, the net cumulative increase has averaged P11 per liter of diesel, gasoline and kerosene. Transportation groups have asked for a fare increase to help utility drivers recoup some of the increased fuel cost. Commodity prices are also expected to rise as higher fuel prices push up production costs.

When asked if Congress could still tackle the revision of the Oil Deregulation Act when the campaign period had already begun for the national elections in May, Senate President Tito Sotto said said Mr. Duterte should call a special session. Congress was adjourned on February 4 and will resume on May 23, or after national and local elections on May 9. Malacañang has so far not said whether the president is inclined to do so.

In the aftermath of the Palace meeting on the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Malacañang released a copy of an executive decree to include nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, a controversial move that sparked opposition on the day of his announcement. The Feb. 28 order, released Thursday last week, can be an important step for an economy that suffers from seasonal blackouts and high electricity prices. Signed at the twilight of Mr. Duterte’s term, the order directs an interagency panel to review the reopening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), the mothballed building that long symbolized corruption during the Marcos dictatorship .

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has long supported nuclear power and says it can help alleviate energy supply problems and high costs. At a press briefing last week, Deputy Energy Secretary Gerardo Erguiza also claimed that new technologies have made nuclear a safer source of energy. But a new regulatory framework needs to be developed, he said, to make investments in nuclear energy more feasible and attractive to both government and the private sector. However, even with a new framework, he said the first possible use of nuclear power may not occur until 2027.

It is disappointing that instead of putting in place courses of action that will have the immediate effect of mitigating the impact of soaring fuel prices, the government has chosen to act on measures that will take years to bear their fruits for consumers. He should have called for emergency measures that are achievable now. The suspension of excise duties on petroleum products is a measure that has the immediate effect of lowering the price of fuel at the pump.

For consumers, energy conservation is the way to go now. The DOE can reiterate its call launched two years ago after the new escalation of tensions in the Middle East: [We] emphasize the urgency of fully implementing energy conservation and efficiency programs… In this regard, we continue to call on the public to adopt an energy-efficient lifestyle and explore measures such as carpooling, walking short distances or using energy-efficient devices. As tens of thousands of workers return to their workplaces under Alert Level 1, these measures will help ease the burden of rising fuel prices on ordinary consumers.

Revision of the Petroleum Deregulation Act to empower the government to interfere in the pricing and supply of petroleum products to protect consumers from unnecessary fuel price spikes, and the inclusion of nuclear power in the energy mix to hopefully drive down electricity prices are laudable efforts that many years later and these are best addressed by the administration to be elected in May. Meanwhile, as the country’s economic managers meet today to discuss rising fuel prices, it is hoped the government can come up with measures to help ease the plight of struggling consumers now.

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