Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday welcomed the reduction of electricity rates by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) this August, even as he expressed gratitude to the company for heeding the call of the House of Representatives to find ways to cushion high electricity rates during the pandemic.
From P8.6966 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) due in July, the electricity bills of Meralco consumers will see a P0.2055 per kWh decrease in August. As a result, consumers can save from P41 to P103 depending on their consumption.
READ: Meralco rates seen stable in August
Cayetano had earlier appealed to Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and Senior Vice President William Pamintuan to look into the possibility of giving a 50 percent discount to “at least the sectors
that need it most” or delaying the payment of electricity bills.
While acknowledging that the goal of all businesses is to thrive financially, Cayetano requested Meralco, which he said has “had its share of profitability,” to continue exploring options to ease the burden on consumers.
Cayetano also took note of the “lifeline discount” that Meralco has extended to its low-income consumers.
From May to July, the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, chaired by Bulacan Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, conducted a series of hearings to investigate the sudden spike in
Meralco electricity rates and bills despite the overcapacity of the electricity supply.
The committee sought to come up with a measure to lower electricity rates, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.
Cayetano said the congressional inquiries helped bring the issues and complaints raised by ordinary consumers to the concerned institutions.
This prompted Meralco to shoulder the P47 convenience fee per transaction for digital payments and to allow four- to six-month installment payments. Meralco also wrote customized letters to consumers explaining their May bills based on actual meter readings.
According to Meralco, the rate reduction in August was due to lower prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) that went down by P1.12 per kWh due to fewer power plant outages.
There was also a decrease in the cost of supply from independent power producers (IPPs).
Since January this year, Meralco has implemented a total of P1.37 per KwH worth of reduction in power rates.
However, there was a question on the increase in the company’s reading of its consumers’ supposed electricity consumption for May, which the company had based on estimated consumption for the past three months.
Cayetano said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has an important role to play in lowering electricity rates.
“Let us always study the policies of the government. We have to make sure wrongs are corrected in favor of the Filipino people," he said.
READ: Meralco rates dip for fourth straight month in August