March 10, 2014
The People Opposed to Unwarranted Electricity Rates (POWER) today joins other petitioners in filing a petition for intervention at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to oppose Meralco’s proposed P5.33/KwH rate hike.
Meralco’s rate hike petition is on top of the P4.15/KwH rate hike that has been temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court.
POWER Convenor and former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño said his group believes Meralco and its supplier, the Aboitiz-owned Therma Mobile, acted deliberately in artificially jacking up prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) even after the Malampaya shutdown last November to December.
“Meralco, through Therma Mobile, made at least four bids in the fantastic amount of P62.00 in November 2013 which led to the P4.15 rate hike. Worse, it made at least 16 bids of P62.00 in December, one of which even happened on December 13, 2013 two days after the Malampaya shutdown ended on December 11, 2013,” the group said in their petition.
Sensing that industry players were manipulating the market, DOE later ordered the WESM price cap lowered to P32.
“This shows that Meralco and Therma Mobile conspired with each other in artificially raising WESM prices which in turn is Meralco’s main basis for asking for a rate increase. They manipulated the market, they rigged the bidding. Thus the rate hike is unjust and illegal so ERC should immediately deny Meralco’s petition,” said Casiño.
He also pointed out that Meralco did not furnish the local governments in their franchise area with a copy of their rate hike petition, which the law requires them to do.
“We appeal to the ERC to fulfil its mandate of protecting electricity consumers. At the very least they should await the SC ruling on Meralco’s P4.15 rate hike since the new P5.33 rate hike is based on the same factors,” he said.#