Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Sunday renewed his call for the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to waive its power rate increase, citing the firm still continues to profit from pass-on charges.
He said the sixth power rate hike in the past months “will certainly add yet another burden to consumers, who are already electrified by rising costs of living due to the pandemic-aggravated crisis.”
“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 in August and now in September. Certainly, they would still earn profit, but it would not be as large and it would definitely not cause their bankruptcy,” he added.
Meralco earlier announced an increase of P0.1055 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in electricity rates in September, bringing its overall rate to P9.1091 per kWh.
The power rate hike means a typical household consuming 200 kWh a month will be charged around P21 more in its electric bill.
“What Meralco conveniently does not say, when confronted with its expensive electricity pricing, is that it is also the owner, wholly or partially, of several power generation companies (GenCos), some of which even act as self-dealing and favored Meralco electricity suppliers,” Zarate said.
“As owner of these GenCos, Meralco profits not only from an increase in power generation cost but from all the revenues, including generation charges, of its GenCos,” he added.
Zarate said power firm officials are deceiving consumers by claiming 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.
“In truth, a substantial portion of these so-called ‘pass-on charges’ goes back to Meralco’s pockets via its GenCos,” he claimed.