Zarate calls to waive power hike, claiming Meralco ‘deceives’ consumers
MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Tuesday urged the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to waive its sixth round of power rate hike while alleging that the power distribution company “deceives” its customers.
“[The power rate increase] will certainly add yet another burden to consumers, who are already electrified by rising cost of living due to the pandemic-aggravated crisis,” Zarate said in a statement.
Last week, the distributor announced a P0.1055 per kilowatt hour (kwh) increase in September due to higher generation charges.
The hike is equivalent to an additional P21 for residential consumers using 200 kWh per month, according to Meralco.
“What is worse though is that power players like Meralco still profit from these miseries. Our call is for Meralco to waive these power rate increases,” Zarate said.
Zarate also claimed that Meralco is “deceiving” consumers when they said that the increase is a mere “pass on charge” to power generation companies (GenCos), pointing out that it is also the owner, wholly or partially, of several GenCos, some of which even act as self-dealing and favored Meralco electricity suppliers.
“So Meralco officials deceive consumers when they claim that the cost of generating the electricity provided to its customers is a mere ‘pass-on charge’ that does not benefit Meralco, purportedly because it goes directly to the GenCos,” Zarate claimed.
“In truth, a substantial portion of these so-called ‘pass-on charges’ goes back to Meralco’s pockets via its GenCos,” he added.
Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga, in a response sent to INQUIRER.net on Tuesday, said: “What significantly drove higher power costs this month were the generation rates of several power plants that supply Meralco’s energy requirements.”
“We also reiterate that these generation charges, being pass through in nature, just like transmission, taxes and other charges, do not accrue to distribution utilities (DU) like Meralco and thus no amount is retained by the DUs,” Zaldarriaga added.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.