3rd petition vs power rate hike filed

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Friday, December 27, 2013

MANILA (Updated) -- Militant groups filed on Friday before the Supreme Court (SC) the third petition against power rate hike by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco).

The petition filed by Anak Pawis Party-list Representative Fernando Hicap and other groups, including Pambansang Lakas ng mga Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Kilusang Magbubukid Ng Pilipinas, and labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, urged the SC to set aside the December 9 resolution of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) granting the request of private respondent Meralco to implement a generation charge of P7.67 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for its December 2013 billing.

The petitioners also wanted SC to declare the power rate increase as unconstitutional for violating section 6, section 29, and section 34 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira).

Hicap and other groups also urged the SC to prohibit Meralco from collecting generation charge amounting to P7.67 per kWh in its December 2013 billing, as well as to stop the power distributing company from adding to its calculated generation charge for February 2014 billing the generation rate of P1 per kWh.

The ERC earlier approved Meralco's proposed staggered billing scheme for the power rate increase, where the increase will be P2.41 per kWh this month, P1.21 per kWh in February 2014, and P0.53 per kWh in March 2014.

They also wanted Meralco to pay its customers a refund on alleged “illegally imposed and collected increases (in fees).”

On Monday, the SC prevented the Meralco from implementing the increase in its electricity rate after issuing a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO).

The TRO has directed the ERC and its agents to stop the implementation of the December 9 order that allowed Meralco’s request for approval of its application for an increase in the rate it charges its customers.

It also ordered the firm not to implement the increase it sought in its December request letter to the ERC.

The Makabayan bloc of the House of Representatives filed the first petition while another one was filed by National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms on December 20. (Sunnex)

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