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Behind the Expensive Electricity Fees

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

By: Tan Tingshuang

When sorting Jeffrey’s bills of July, I noticed that the electricity fees are very high. One thing needs to be mentioned is that his coffee shop is just a hole-in-wall small shop without air condition. The only electrical appliances are one hanging fan and two lights in the stores. However, his bill of July is up to 2800 pesos!

After noticing this, I also asked Leah about household electricity. She also mentioned that in July, the electricity fees are more than 3000 pesos. While we were having hot pot, I suggested we would use an induction cooker for cooking hot pot instead of use gasoline. She said that they couldn’t afford the electricity fees if using that in the house. But actually, the household electrical appliances in her home are just a TV, a fridge, then a few lights and fans. Comparing Philippine to China, I recalled that our family would never get worried about using induction cooker will increase a lot of fees this month. I asked my mom how much is July’s electricity fees in our home. She said because of using air-con in the summertime, the charges of this month were relatively higher, which is 150 RMB, approximately equaling to 1100 Pesos.

For people here who think the using 20 pesos tricycle fee to and from the market is high, I cannot imagine 3000 peso’s electricity fees means what.I get that the power rate in the Philippine is 0.2 US dollars per kWh, 0.12 dollars higher than that in China. News from early this year states that the electricity fees per kWh will increase by 0.0633 pesos. For a family averagely using 200 kWh, the monthly bill will increase nearly 12 pesos.After getting to know these, curiosity drove me to explore more: how much is the electricity charges in Philippine? Which position is it among the world? And why are the fees so high?The chart below shows the ranking of electricity fees around the world. We can observe and put Philippine between New Zealand and Japan. It is said that Philippine’s electricity is the most expensive in Southeast Asia, which is unbelievable. What pushes the rate so high?

From my research, Philippine is the only country in Asia that electricity is private-owned by companies. Historically observing, in 1986, the president shut Bataan nuclear power station down in case that various natural disaster like typhoon will lead to a meltdown, like what happened in Chernobyl in the same year. This dramatically affects the electricity provision in the Philippine. In order to overcome this electricity crisis, the government started using a lot of preferential policy to attract private companies to shoulder the electricity provision. This will cause a severe problem that most of the financial cost, like the loss while delivery, will be transferred to the citizens. That is one of the reasons why electricity is so expensive.

Additionally, the lack of natural resources also pushes the electricity rate higher than in other countries. Too much dependency on importing nature resources and still no best way to apply renewable energy make the Filipinos feel headache when paying the electricity bill.Behind the quotidian thing which we use every second, there are so many facts and reasons for us to explore.

I really hope that in my future life, I could hold on to observing, exploring, and thinking, no matter how small the thing is

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