House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate has urged Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to waive its sixth round of power rate hike, saying it its ill-timed amid the still raging pandemic.
The power rate increase “will certainly add yet another burden to consumers, who are already electrified by rising cost of living due to the pandemic-aggravated crisis,” said Zarate.
Zarate aired his appeal as Meralco announced a P0.1055 per kiloWatt hour increase this month equivalent to an additional P21 for residential consumers using 200 kWh per month.
Meralco said the increase was due to higher generation charge.
“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!“ said Zarate.
Zarate added Meralco will still earn profit “but it would not be as large and it would definitely not cause their bankruptcy.”
“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 added.
Zarate explained that as owner of these GenCos, Meralco profits not only from an increase in power generation cost but from all the revenues.
“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. In truth, a substantial portion of these so-called ‘pass-on charges’ goes back to Meralco’s pockets via its GenCos,” Zarate pointed out.
Zarate and the Makabayan bloc have been calling to ban cross-ownership between GenCos and distribution utilities.