Solons hope, expect SC to strike down EPIRA
MANILA, Philippines—After the Supreme Court stopped Meralco’s unprecedented rate hike while cases against it are pending, lawmakers are now looking forward to the court striking down the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) that they believe contributed to unjustified rate increases in the past.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, one of the petitioners against Meralco, applauded the court’s decision to indefinitely extend the temporary restraining order against the rate increase, and said he hoped this would lead to a ruling that would favor consumers.
“We also hope that the Supreme Court would finally declare the EPIRA unconstitutional so that this type of unjust rate hikes would not happen again,” Colmenares said on Tuesday.
He earlier said the EPIRA, instead of benefiting consumers, actually allowed power generation companies to jack up their prices.
He had questioned the constitutionality of the EPIRA provisions that say the power generation and supply sectors are not public utilities and that their charges are beyond the Energy Regulation Commission’s ambit.
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio lauded the court’s recent order as it would protect consumers from onerous charges while the magistrates are deliberating on the issue.
But Tinio said he was hoping for a swift resolution of the case, and that the court would take the Energy Regulation Commission to task for failing in its duty to protect consumers.
“We hope it will side with the people in declaring grave abuse of discretion on the part of Energy Regulatory Commission in failing to prevent the unprecedented price hike and, more importantly, declare the privatization of power generation as unconstitutional,” he said.
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