Lawmaker pushes for ERC chair's resignation

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Friday, December 27, 2013

MANILA -- With the power rate hike halted by a temporary restraining order (TRO), a lawmaker continues to push for the resignation of Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chairperson Zenaida Ducut and other members of the ERC over the hasty approval of the rate increase.

It was the ERC which approved Meralco's proposed staggered billing scheme for the power rate increase until March of next year. Under the scheme, the increase will be P2.41 per kilowatt hour (kwh) this month, P1.21 per kilowatt hour in February 2014, and P0.53 per kilowatt hour in March 2014.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court (SC) issued a TRO on the rate hike forcing Meralco, the country's biggest power distributor, to refund its customers who have settled their December bills reflecting higher power rates.

Bayan Muna party-list Representative Neri Colmenares said ERC's officials should resign for causing "confusion and injury" to power consumers after hastily approving the power rate hike.

"ERC’s hasty approval of the rate increase in only one working day shows its utter lack of concern for the public’s interest and a violation of its mandate under the law to protect consumers," Colmenares, a lawyer, said.

Colmenares said ERC officials failed to consider that the rate increase will have a domino effect on the prices of commodities.

"They cannot be allowed to escape accountability for this and must not stay in office a day longer. They must tender their irrevocable resignation," he said.

Several members of Congress have long been pushing for the resignation of Ducut not only for the power rate hike but also for her alleged involvement in the controversial pork barrel scam.

Ducut, a former congresswoman of Pampanga, was an alleged agent of pork scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles.

Malacanang however has said that they will leave it up to Ducut to decide whether she will resign from her post.

Meanwhile, Anak Pawis Partylist and other militant groups filed before the Supreme Court the third petition against the power rate hike. (Sunnex)

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