House told to hasten probe on power firms

A party-list organization belonging to the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives and a consumer advocacy group on Monday urged the House Committee on Energy to expedite its investigation on the alleged over-recovery of power distributors.

Bayan Muna and Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc. alleged that there were “significant discrepancies” that they detected in the power distributors’ declarations to the Energy Regulatory Commission as well as in the annual reports and audited financial statements submitted to various regulatory agencies.

Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares said they were concerned that this was a violation of the regulatory rule that power generation would only be a pass-on charge to the consumers.

The groups cited data culled from the monthly filings of generation costs to the ERC from 2008 to 2019, annual reports and audited financial statements of power distributors for the same years.

“The ERC and the Commission on Audit should fast-track their audit of the sales and purchases of distributors, validated from the records of each of their power generation suppliers including the WESM, and to require Meralco’s explanation for these discrepancies,” MSK convenor David Celestra Tan said.

The consumer group expects that a validation of all these numbers can lead to the correction of the distribution charges to power users.

Last August, the groups said Meralco purchased only 33.585 billion kwh of power in 2019 from all its generation sources, including WESM, but reported purchased power of 46.871 billion kwh in its annual report.

The discrepancy was 13.03 billion kwh.

The groups said the value of their generation purchases was P179 billion as disclosed to the ERC and the consumers, but declared purchased power cost of P241 billion in their audited financial statements. The discrepancy in peso value was P66.173 billion for 2019 alone.

The groups added that the effective DSM or distribution, supply, and metering revenue of Meralco in 2019 was P2.05 per kwh compared to the ERC-approved P1.38 per kwh, an apparent over-recovery by 49 percent.

Topics: Makabayan Bloc , House of Representatives , Bayan Muna , Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc. , Neri Colmenares
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