[PHOTO - GASOLINE IN SODA BOTTLES A woman sells premium gasoline in soda bottles at P58 per liter near the national highway in Barangay Sikitan, Kidapawan City, North Cotabato. Her usual customers are drivers of ‘habal-habal’ motorcycles. (Photo by ALEXANDER D. LOPEZ)]

MANILA, APRIL 27, 2011 (BULLETIN) (PNA) -- Gasoline prices went up anew by P0.25 per liter effective Tuesday to reflect the movement in international product prices.

Chevron Philippines and Pilipinas Shell raised prices 6 a.m. Tuesday, while Phoenix will implement an adjustment 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Other oil firms are expected to follow suit.

Gasoline is now sold at around P52.10 to P58.12 per liter while diesel is around P44.95 to P47.50 per liter.

However, the oil companies maintained their diesel prices, giving a much-needed weekly relief to the transport sector.

To mitigate the impact of higher gasoline prices, Energy Undersecretary Jay Layug said the government's nationwide transport financial assistance program will likely be implemented after the Holy Week.

The discount cards will provide up to P3 per liter diesel discount to the transport sector and is estimated to cost the government around P500 million


Oil firms hike prices, Meralco raises rates By Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo, Reporter  - OIL companies increased gasoline prices on Tuesday as international oil prices continue to rise while the power rates of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will increase this month as a result of a spike in electricity spot market prices.

In separate statements, Cheveron (formerly Caltex) Philippines Inc. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. announced a P0.25 a liter increase in gasoline prices effective 6 a.m. Tuesday. Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. also said it would raise its prices at the same level effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Other oil firms have not advised if they will also implement similar adjustments as this went to press.

Based on data from the Department of Energy, gasoline is now selling between P52.10 a liter and P58.12 a liter while diesel is about P44.95 a liter to P47.50 a liter in Metro Manila.

Since the start of the year, fuel prices have risen constantly following unrest over oil producing nations in the Middle East and North Africa.

To date, local gasoline prices have increased cumulatively by P6.35 a liter and diesel at P8.10 a liter.

To help consumers cope with the high pump prices, Department of Energy Undersecretary Jay Layug said that government would be releasing fuel discount cards for the public transport sector after the Holy Week.

The assistance will provide up to P3 a liter discount at the pump. The program is estimated to cost the government P450 million.

Meanwhile, the power rates of Meralco will increase this month as a result of a spike in electricity spot market prices.

From an average of P4.85 a kilowatt-hour in March, Meralco’s generation charge or its power cost will rise to P5.05 a kilowatt-hour this April.

Generation charge is the biggest component of electricity bills, comprising on the average about 60 percent of what consumers pay for. Meralco collects the tariff on behalf of its power suppliers.

This month’s adjustment includes an increase in charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), mainly because of adjustments that pertained to costs from May 2010 that were billed only this month, Meralco said in a statement.

“This effectively drove up the April bill of power consumers by P0.20 per kilowatt-hour,” it added.

Although Meralco only procured 2.5 percent of its overall power requirements for March from WESM, the significant increase in the spot market’s charges more than offset the P0.02 a kilowatt-hour decrease in the rates of the utility’s contracted independent power producers (IPP) over the same period.

Cost of power obtained by Meralco from the National Power Corp. (Napocor), meanwhile, inched up by P0.01 a kilowatt-hour. Meralco sourced 50.4 percent and 47.0 percent of its power requirements from the IPPs and Napocor last month.

“Of the different power suppliers of Meralco, the IPPs continued to offer the lowest rates,” Meralco said.

Doing a year-over-year comparison, however, the generation charge this month is still lower compared to that of April last year, when it stood at P6.77 a kilowatt-hour.


DOE asks oil companies to roll back its prices 2011-04-25

Oil companies that increased their pump prices last week must roll back this week following a government calculation, according to the Department of Energy.

“Our view is oil prices should rollback depending on how much you increased last week. So, if you increased last week, your rollback should be higher. If you did not increase, then it should be lesser than those that did the increase,” Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras told reporters in a press conference in Malacanang on Monday.

Almendras said that based on their calculations last week, gasoline should have gone up by a maximum 39 centavos noting that an increase of up to 60 cents is too much.

There is an agreement with the oil companies in rounding off calculations and Almendras said the 39 cents maximum must only be translated to 40-centavo increase. But he noted the increase went as high as 60 centavos.

“For diesel, our calculations showed it should have gone up by only 16 centavos. So, you round it off to 20 centavos, but some companies went as high as 25,” he said.

And because the DOJ-DOE Task Force is now in place, Almendras said they want all companies that increased more than what they felt was appropriate to explain in writing and submit it to the task force.

The energy chief said that if the joint task force feels that there is an abuse, a case in court will be filed, and subsequently, the appropriate action will be followed depending on the law.

But he noted: “We have to receive their reply in writing. The task force has to evaluate, has to do the comparatives, has to look at the numbers, and then make an opinion. Based on that opinion will be the decision on how to pursue beyond that point,”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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