Published On: Mon, Aug 5th, 2019

Court stops DOE from unbundling fuel prices

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The Department of Energy faces multiple cases on its move to break down how oil companies come up with fuel prices

Published 9:25 PM, August 05, 2019

Updated 9:25 PM, August 05, 2019

UNBUNDLING. Oil companies oppose the Department of Energy's order to provide a breakdown of prices. File photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

UNBUNDLING. Oil companies oppose the Department of Energy’s order to provide a breakdown of prices. File photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – A lower court stopped the Department of Energy (DOE) from requiring oil companies to unbundle fuel prices.

The decision of Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court Branch 213 penned by Judge Carlos Valenzuela on Monday, August 5, granted Petron Corporation‘s application for a writ of preliminary injunction, preventing the DOE from compelling oil companies to detail how price adjustments are computed.

Oil companies oppose unbundling because competitors may get access to confidential information. But the DOE had said that the data companies would submit will only be for the purposes of the agency and will not be made public.

“The petitioner might be placed at risk of losing its trade secrets and incur irreparable injury by disclosing such information to DOE,” the court decision read.

In a text message, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said “the DOE will abide by the court.”

The DOE wants the following details from oil companies on a weekly basis:

  • International content – includes import and freight costs
  • Taxes – includes excise and value added taxes and duties
  • Take components – port charges; costs for refining, storage, handling, marketing; profit margins

The court said companies like Petron might not be able to comply with such requirements, which means they would be subject to penalties.

The Philippine Institute of Petroleum and Pilipinas Shell filed similar cases against the DOE over the matter.

The DOE wants to push through with unbundling so that the government can better crack down on reported incidents of anticompetitive behavior. – Rappler.com

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