ERC, Meralco tackle power rate hike
MANILA, Philippines – The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will sit down with the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) this Monday to tackle the proposed power rate increase, ERC executive director Francis Saturnino Juan told Inquirer Radio 990AM.
Juan said the proposed hike was included in the Commission’s agenda for Monday morning.
“We will listen to the presentation of Meralco (at around 11 am) on its proposed generation charge and the deferment of a portion of its generation charge …to mitigate the impact on its consumers for the December billing,” he said.
The hearing, which will be held at the ERC’s office at Pacific Center bldg., San Miguel Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City, is open to the public.
“We hope the ERC will come up with a fair and equitable decision on this matter so as to mitigate the impact…[on] the consumers,” he said.
The decision on the rate hike will be made by ERC chairperson Zenaida Cruz-Ducut and Commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, and Josefina Patricia Asirit.
Meralco is proposing a two-tranche hike – P2.23 per kilowatt hour (kWh) increase in December and an additional of at least P1.20 per kWh in February. This will raise the cost of generation to P7.90 per kWh for December, from the existing rate of P5.67 per kWh.
Juan explained that the actual rate of impact on residential customers would be P4.15 per kWh because of “upward adjustments,” including changes in the transmission charge, system loss and value-added tax (VAT).
Instead of January, “Meralco is proposing that the deferred amount will be recovered in February when it is already anticipating its generation cost will already be lower,” Juan said.
The distribution utility earlier said it would have to hike generation charges after Malampaya natural gas plant went on a month-long maintenance shutdown, forcing Meralco to augment its energy supplies through the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and power plants using the more expensive liquid fuel.
The ERC official said generation costs are expected to go down in the following months after the power plants revert back to using natural gas.
But various groups have strongly opposed the proposed rate hike.
Even the proposed staggered power rate hike did not sit well with militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
“The latest price hike, whether collected in full or on a staggered basis, is patently unjust… Added costs are passed on to end-users without any government or public scrutiny,” Bayan said in a statement.
The House committee on energy is set to investigate the proposed hike on Tuesday.
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