Price-fixing charges baseless: DOE

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The Department of Energy (DOE) said its inclusion in the complaint filed by Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) at the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) for alleged price-fixing and collusion among oil companies is baseless.

“We find the complaint of LKI president Victorio Mario Dimagiba unmeritorious by accusing the Department of colluding with the oil companies by pointing to the pricing formula posted on the DOE website, as having facilitated said unacceptable illegal activities. The pricing formula in question, made by the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB), has been on the Department’s website since 2010. The posting is made in the interest of transparency,” the DOE said in a statement.

The agency said the formula is not being prescribed nor dictated to be followed by industry players but is made publicly available to serve as a tool for all parties interested to understand and evaluate domestic oil price movements.

“With the ERB formula having been utilized by the Board in the performance of its functions over the course of 11 years, the DOE deemed it fit to adopt said pricing formula among all other alternatives due to its historical reliability,” the DOE said.

But the DOE said it welcomes the initiative of LKI to protect consumers and cited a memorandum of agreement it signed last July with the PCC to promote fair market competition and consumer welfare in the energy sector through information sharing, as well as investigation and enforcement support, the creation of joint task forces, capacity-building activities and consultative meetings.