House to probe Meralco rate hike | Inquirer News

House to probe Meralco rate hike

/ 01:56 PM December 08, 2013


MANILA, Philippines – The House Committee on Energy is set to hold an inquiry into the Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) proposed power rate hike on Tuesday.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate on Sunday said Representative Reynaldo Umali, chairperson of the Energy Committee, informed him that his resolution calling for a probe on the price hike will be included in the December 10 hearing at 9:30 am.


“This is a positive development and we commend Congressman Umali for acting swiftly on a very pressing issue affecting millions of our countrymen. We hope that Meralco would defer the power rate increase as the probe is ongoing because as history would tell us, it is very difficult for them to refund consumers when they overcharge power rates,” Zarate said in a statement.


Zarate’s House Resolution no. 588 questions the P2 to P3 per kilowatt hour increase proposed by Meralco amid a price freeze pursuant to the declaration of a state of national calamity.

The congressman called the rate hike “artificial and contrived,” adding that the generation charge increase could have been prevented if the government had come up with alternative and affordable sources of energy during the month-long maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas plant.

Meralco earlier said they needed to hike generation charges after they were forced to augment their energy supplies through the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and the more expensive liquid fuel.

“There is supposed to be an energy plan being implemented by the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). If it is so, then this power rate increase is also clearly planned.  An investigation is definitely in order, considering that we have had enough calamities for the year,” Zarate said.

He claimed the scheduled maintenance shutdown of power plants may have been used to manipulate generation charges through the WESM.

“Of course, it would be better if the energy sector is once again regulated, its control returned to the government so that these kind of problems would not arise. As it is now, the private operators are the ones decisive in the whole spectrum of the energy industry, including plant maintenance — and, they can create an artificial energy crisis if they want to,” Zarate said.


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Meralco hikes rates by up to P3 per kWh

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