ERC chief pressed to resign over power rate hike
MANILA, Philippines—Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairman Zenaida Ducut should resign over her alleged hasty and unjust approval of the recent Manila Electric Company (Meralco) power rate increase, a lawmaker said Friday.
Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said Ducut and other ERC officials should file their irrevocable resignation.
“The Supreme Court’s two month temporary restraining order (TRO) only shows that paying the incredibly high generation charge could have been held in abeyance by the ERC for at least two months while it investigates the veracity of Meralco’s claimed increase. ERC’s hasty approval of the rate increase in only one working day shows its utter lack of concern for the public’s interest and a violation of its mandate under the law to protect consumers,” Colmenares said.
He said any rate increase in Metro Manila would affect the price of commodities being sold all over the country because most of the producers and manufactures of these goods were based in the metro.
“The ERC failed to consider the impact of the rate increase on the economy as a whole and the fact that it will jack up prices all over the country. They cannot be allowed to escape accountability for this and must not stay in office a day longer. They must tender their irrevocable resignation,” he said.
He urged consumers to heed the high court’s TRO and not pay their pending December bills until Meralco has clarified how much of their bill was restrained by the court.
He said consumers who have paid their December billing must now demand that Meralco refund them for their payments.
He added that consumers who have not paid their December bill must wait for a letter from Meralco clarifying how much should be refunded as a result of the TRO.
“Meralco should not implement any disconnection of service this December because consumers are just implementing the Supreme Court TRO in good faith,” he said.
ERC: Meralco can hike rates sans gov’t prior OK