Magagalit nyan si PRRD! : ERC urged to probe Meralco's spike in charges during lockdown

Magagalit nyan si PRRD! : ERC urged to probe Meralco's spike in charges during lockdown

A few months back he was the target of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s tirades regarding the onerous contracts (Maynilad Water) alongside the Ayala’s (Manila Water), and since the Chief Executive have apologized to the words he has said.
But now, Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) is making himself the target again of the President two weeks after the apology, this time the issue is with respect to the market abuse of his group’s power utility, Manila Electric Co. or MERALCO.

Bayan Muna partylist cited complaints of doubling or tripling in their Meralco electricity bills that Meralco summarily attributed to a surge in power consumption when millions of Filipinos were forced to stay at home since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was declared by the national government on March 16.

(photo credit to owner)

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said President Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) themselves debunked Meralco’s claim with their report that the Luzon power gird had an excess capacity due to lack of demand in the last two months.

“How can consumption increase when the demand is going down from as we enter the summer period?” asked Zarate.

Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares has the opinion that the doubling of the monthly power consumption might be in direct violation of the Bayanihan Law which has one of is provisions which states that President Duterte is given the emergency power to regulate power supply and protect against profiteering during the lockdown.

Colmenares said Meralco should not even increase its rates as it has claimed “force majeure” among its supply contracts which meant it would l no longer pay its contract demand to its suppliers due to the COVID crisis.
Further Colmenares said the Energy Regulatory Commission should look into complaints of surge in electricity bills under Section 4 of the Bayanihan Law which empowered it “to regulate the supply power, fuel, energy and water and protect the people from profiteering, cartels, monopolies and other pernicious practices.”
Meralco’s skyrocketing rates provide consumers and lawmakers alike painful proof that the law of supply and demand does not work when only one company – a monopoly like Meralco – controls the supply of a product or service,” he said.

“We also cannot expect Meralco to pick the least cost of electricity from among genco suppliers when Meralco also owns the GenCos,” he added.

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