Bayan Muna party-list representative Carlos Isagani Zarate urges the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to waive its sixth round of power rate hike scheduled this month of September.
The Bayan Muna representative alleges the power distribution company is ‘deceiving’ its customers when it claimed the said increase is a mere “pass on charge” to power generation companies (GenCos).
MANILA — In a statement, the solon discloses “(the power rate increase) will certainly add yet another burden to consumers, who are already ‘electrified’ by the rising cost of living triggered by the ongoing crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn.”
Last week, Meralco announced a ₱0.1055 per kilowatt hour (kwh) increase in September due to higher generation charges. The hike is equivalent to an additional ₱21 for residential consumers using 200 kwh per month.
“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.
In alleging deceit by Meralco over “pass on charge” to GenCos, the party-list lawmaker pointed 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,” he stressed.
“In truth, a substantial portion of these so-called ‘pass-on charges’ goes back to Meralco’s pockets via its GenCos,” he added.
Meanwhile, Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldariagga responded to Zarate’s allegation that “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,” Zaldariagga said. (TRC/Headline PH)